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Why traffic accidents happen and how you can help minimise the risk

CrashLorry and van drivers are, statistically speaking, some of the safest drivers on the road, being involved in the least amount of traffic accidents. According to the Department for Transport, motorcyclists and cyclists are the most vulnerable road users, but that doesn’t mean commercial vehicle drivers get off lightly.

Whether you’re a commercial van driver or a cyclist, there’s a lot we can all learn, about why traffic accidents happen. Knowing what are the main causes, can help us minimise the risk of being in a road accident ourselves, as well as helping to protect those around us – in terms of our passengers and other road users.

Driver error or reaction – the biggest cause of traffic accident

Driver error is by far the biggest cause of road traffic accidents on UK roads. This umbrella term covers a vast array of mistakes drivers make, including:

  • Failing to judge the speed of others
  • Manoeuvring errors
  • Sudden breaking
  • Failing to look properly
  • Following others too closely

The risk of causing a traffic accident in many of these situations can be minimised, by paying attention to what you’re doing and what’s going on around you.

Aggressive and careless driving

Another common cause for traffic accidents, this could be summed up as ‘driver arrogance’. These accident-causing activities include:

  • Ignoring traffic signals
  • Ignoring speed limits
  • Jumping lights
  • Intimidating other drivers – such as tailgating and lane swerving
  • Driving too fast

Often, these can be avoided, simply be knowing – and following – the rules laid out in the Highway Code! Rules relating to the road are not there to be broken and they’re set out to keep every road user safe, so get over yourself and your ego.

Driver distraction

Even though the law regarding mobile phone use whilst driving has been changed, there’s still many vehicle owners who still insist on flouting the law. It’s illegal to make a call, text and even touch your mobile phone whilst driving your vehicle – and that includes any situation where your engine is still running. So, whether you’re queued in traffic or sat at the traffic lights, if you need to make a phone call or text someone – pull over. Not only could this potentially save your life and those of others, it could save you a £200 fine and 6 points on your licence too.

Unfamiliar with new vehicle

One of the more surprising, yet easily remedied, causes of traffic accident in the UK is unfamiliarity with your new vehicle. If you’re the proud owner of a new vehicle, take the time to go through the manual, before you take it out on the road. Learn where everything is – from the indicators to the seat adjuster – so you can take your new pride and joy, safely out onto the main roads.

Although van drivers are one of the safest drivers, it pays to understand what the major causes of traffic accident are. You can then drive easy, knowing you have the knowledge you need – to make your journey an even safer one.

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