If drivers changed the way they drove, up to 96% of all accidents could be avoided, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Every year, there are around 6 million car accidents on America’s roads. Many of them are caused by things such as speeding, texting while driving, and driving recklessly on dangerous roads. But there are some surprising things that can also cause drivers to be involved in a collision or a breakdown.
A bout of the sneezes
7% of drivers say that sneezing has caused them to be involved in a car accident. Sneezing is something we all do and we have very little control over it, but it is dangerous when driving. It’s estimated that you travel 50 feet with your eyes closed when you sneeze while driving, which is a scary statistic. There have been plenty of reports of sneezing causing serious, and sometimes deadly, car accidents. A crash in May 2022 in Masardis, Maine, was allegedly caused by a truck driver having a sneezing fit
, according to local police. You can lower the risk of a sneeze-related car accident by not driving with a cold or the flu and by taking non-drowsy allergy relief medication if you have allergies.
It’s common to find bugs, such as ants, spiders, and carpet beetles in cars. Spotting a bug in your vehicle is dangerous and can increase your chances of being involved in a road collision by six-fold. Cicadas have been particularly problematic bugs
recently. In 2021, a cicada caused a single-car crash in Cincinnati after it flew into the vehicle and struck the driver in the face. Protect yourself on the road by fumigating your car to remove all interior bugs.
You could either do a DIY fumigation or hire a professional to do the job for you. Professional fumigation is often favored as you can be sure that all the bugs have been removed and you don’t have to expose yourself to chemicals.
Cats love it under the hood of a vehicle because it’s warm and cozy. A cat simply sleeping on your engine can cause serious damage to it though. Their hair may also block or damage parts of the engine. If you turn the engine on and go for a drive with a cat on your engine, the cat is at risk of serious injury or even death, which can damage your engine even further. The best thing you can do is check the engine before every drive. Another option is to kick each tire to wake up a sleeping cat and encourage it to move on.
45% of U.S. drivers say they find the mess in their car overwhelming. 28% confess that they have drink bottles clogging up the inside of their vehicle. Any type of trash is dangerous and can lead to an accident. It could block your view out of the windshield, get under your feet and stop the brakes from working, or distract you as it moves around your vehicle. Ann Biglan is one driver that knows how risky it is to drive in a messy vehicle. She drove a trash-packed Ford Explorer backward across Route 28 after trash got stuck under the accelerator. To ensure you’re safe when driving, dispose of trash after every journey, keep a car trash can in your vehicle, and utilize backseat organizers.
Car accidents and breakdowns aren’t always caused by the most obvious things. These examples show that even something as simple as a piece of trash can have serious consequences.