The current stretch of cold and wet weather sweeping across New Mexico and other southern states has caused a great many motor vehicle accidents, but the sleet and snow aren’t the only causes of these crashes. People tend to overlook other causes of traffic accidents that, in times of more moderate weather, cause a great many crashes. Drivers in New Mexico and elsewhere should not ignore these causes simply because the current assault of immoderate weather is grabbing all of the attention.
Fatigue and sleepiness remain the most common cause
Many drivers embark upon their trips without obtaining sufficient sleep. Fatigue can impair a driver’s ability to accurately discern road conditions and the speed and direction of other vehicles. Accident experts also advice drivers to make regular sleep or rest stops to break up the trip.
Breaking rules also contributes to accidents
About 40% of all accidents are caused by vehicles ignoring or violating a stop sign or red light. Violating speed limits is an obvious cause of collisions, as is texting while driving. This last practice should be completely avoided.
Drunk driving is another obvious cause of accidents
At least one study has concluded that about 29 deaths per day are caused by drunk driving. Unfortunately, drivers who do not drink before or while driving may still become the victims of drivers who ignore the effects of alcohol.
Poor road conditions can also cause accidents
Roads that have not been properly maintained can also be a significant cause of motor vehicle accidents. Potholes and open cracks can cause a driver to lose control and lead to a crash.
Bad weather may play a role in accident causation
New Mexico’s current spell of intense winter weather has obviously caused more than the normal number of crashes, but even during times of calmer weather, rain, snowfall or strong wind also rank high on the list of common accident causes. If weather worsens unexpectedly in the middle of a trip, drivers should pull over and seek shelter until the weather improves.
Mechanical failure is an often overlooked cause
All vehicles should be periodically inspected and properly maintained. The failure of systems such as brakes, steering and tires can often cause death or serious bodily injury if the failure occurs at high speeds normally encountered on interstate highways.
Human negligence may be the single most common cause
Almost all of the causes listed above involve human negligence to one degree another. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in an accident caused in part by human fault may have a claim for damages for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can provide useful advice on the likelihood of recovering damages.