We’ve all heard the old adage that most accidents happen close to home, but is this simply fiction? Well, all the way back in 2001, Progressive Insurance conducted a survey that included more than 11,000 motorists and discovered that a staggering 52% of reported accidents happened less than 8 kilometres from motorists’ homes. 20 years later, the statistics remain similar, and we got curious as to why.
Here are the top six reasons why most accidents happen close to home:
1. You’re so familiar with the roads
Or, may we say a little… Complacent?
It’s only human that the more you know a route, the more careless you get. When our minds get distracted, they wander, and distraction is the mother of road accidents because your guard is down and aren’t prepared for any possible emergencies.
The truth is, the moment you take to the streets, anything could happen. Remember this the next time you get behind the wheel. Don’t be overconfident – There’s no such thing as driving safely and using your phone at the same time, Little Miss Multitasker.
2. Rules go out the window
Your home route is your comfort zone, so rules don’t apply here, right? Wrong! Many road users tend to flout road rules when they’re closer home because they perceive residential roads to be safer than trunk roads. After all, they’re less busy and less prone to be roadblock targets, right? Wrong again! Not signalling, jaywalking and making complacent little moves make you a road menace, so don’t be one.
3. Collisions with parked vehicles
Poorly parked cars are invitations for trouble – especially because drivers tend to go on autopilot on familiar roads. After all, a stationary vehicle could not possibly evade an incoming car, could it?
Parked vehicles along the side of the road in residential neighbourhoods can be both victims as well as perpetrators of car accidents. A poorly parked car that isn’t aligned with the designated parking area also invites trouble, especially because drivers tend to go into autopilot while on familiar roads.
The liability within these types of auto accidents can be somewhat tricky, which is why hiring an experienced car accident attorney is crucial if you ever find yourself in such a situation.
4. Kids are taking informal driving lessons
Residential areas are also where kids with no driver’s licenses are sometimes seen driving. This could be a result of some very successful sneaking around by the kids or a dangerous indulgence granted by parents.
Either way, these kids potentially make neighborhood roads dangerous as they are not physically and mentally capable of safe driving.
5. Safety belts become optional
You’re more likely to be seriously injured or killed in road accidents close to your home because this is where you’re most distracted and tend to skip buckling up. Studies show time and again that wearing your seatbelt reduces the risk of injuries and fatalities by half. Need we say more?
6. Blame it on the alcohol
We all know that folks tend to consume more alcohol especially on the weekends. Some might think they’ll get away with ferrying a friend nearby, or driving back home quickly, especially if the place they’re drinking at is close to where they live. The thing is there’s really no foolproof way to measure just how much alcohol is too much, as we all vary in tolerance, so discipline in this area is crucial, and could save lives.
Moral of the story: Stay vigilant and restrained no matter how short the journey or how well you know your roads. Your life is in your hands, so please, pretty please, don’t start watching your favourite Netflix show, even if you’re just a minute away from your carpark. Godspeed.