Are You at High Risk of Getting Into a Car Accident? Here's What You Need to Know

driving, car accidents

Here's what you need to know about car accidents, staying safe, and factors you should consider if you ever get into a fender bender.

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Car accidents don't happen to everyone, but they're not exactly rare either. In 2015, there were 1,121 fatalities from car accidents in NY alone. Around the world, millions die every year from car accidents.

Given the dangers posed by car accidents, researchers got together and examined the data collected by various studies and governmental agencies. They found that you're likely to get into a car accident if you have one or more of these factors:

If you're a new driver. Researchers say that within the first six months of becoming a new driver, you're 800 percent more likely to get into a fatal car accident than an experienced driver.

If you're a teenager. Drivers between the age of 16 to 19 are still 200 to 300 percent more likely to get into a fatal car accident than experienced drivers even after they've been driving for six months.

If you're a guy. Science is often unbiased, but the data does show that guys get into more car accidents than girls. Obviously, the unsupported theories and mechanisms behind this phenomenon are sexist, so they won't be discussed.

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Being unskilled. Everyone reacts differently, with some people having better reactions and reaction times than others. Are you quick to recognize potential hazards? Are you quick on your feet? These are factors that can mean the difference between a fender bender and a close call.

Being knowledgeable. Remember the driver's manual you were given in Driver's Ed? Remember the brochures and pamphlets your DMV or MVC gave you when you went to get your license or prepare for your road test? Studying these materials and knowing traffic rules and the nuances of the driving system is another big factor in staying accident free. If you don't know the difference between a red yield sign and a yellow yield sign, you might end up going too fast and there might unfortunately be another vehicle near you.

Even if you have one or more of these risk factors, don't fret. Here are ways you can help protect yourself from car accidents and drive safer:

Drive safely! This might sound obvious, but if you're a new driver, don't drive like everyone else and drive at or over the speed limit. Drive below the speed limit at all times until you've gained enough experience and time behind the wheel where you feel more comfortable driving faster.

Read up. Even if you somehow passed your written and road tests without really studying the driver's manual, go back to it. Knowing which signs mean what, and the various situations at different intersections can keep you from making mistakes at unfamiliar crossings which can potentially lead to car accidents.

Even if you get into a fender bender, don't panic, and call for help. According to Robinson & Henry, P.C., studies show that your mental wellbeing is greatly affected after a car accident. You might think you can think straight, but in reality your mental ability may be distorted and you might make illogical decisions. (In fact, a significant number of people who get into car accidents end up developing PTSD!) Call for help immediately – either your insurance provider or a family or friend. Never say anything to the other driver (unless they're gravely injured) because your state of trauma might cause you to say something that could make you liable for lawsuits later on. Just follow your insurance agent's instructions and do nothing else unless instructed by the police or medical services.

Now that you're more aware of the risk factors of car accidents and the steps you can take to protect yourself from them, you can better avoid getting into fender benders and enjoy a spotless driving record.

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