Vehicle accidents are an unfortunate result of our automobile-driven transportation system in Texas. In Tarrant County alone, there are over 20,000 traffic accidents each year. With over 1.8 million people in the county, that is one accident per ninety people each year (although this is somewhat inaccurate because non-Tarrant County residents also get in accidents within Tarrant County). Fortunately, not all accidents involve injuries but it is highly likely that any accident will produce some property damage. Each year almost half of all the accidents produce some form of injury, whether it is serious bodily injury or a minor injury.
Although it might be the freeway accidents that are most visible and cause the most problems during our daily commutes, study after study shows accidents are most prevalent the closer you are to home. A 2004 Progressive Insurance study showed that 52% of all accidents occur within just five miles of the home. This should not be as surprising as it might sound. Other than sometimes extended commutes, many people spend most of their driving time close to home. We tend to visit the businesses, such as stores and restaurants, closest to us. Children tend to go to schools within the neighborhood and their friends and after-school activities are also usually in the neighborhood. Since residential neighborhood roads tend to be peppered with people on foot, parked cars and traffic there are a lot of opportunities to get into an accident. Neighborhood collisions often involved parked cars (especially when trying to avoid hitting a person or animal) or people backing out of driveways and striking other vehicles.
In looking at all the accidents, the most common location for accidents is not the streets but parking lots. There are many ways accidents can occur. Two cars backing out at the same time can back into each other. Sometimes people drive too fast and cannot avoid hitting a car backing out of a spot. Often these accidents occur when people pull into parking spots and hit another vehicle on the side or front. Although these accidents may be at a low speed they can still result in expensive cosmetic repairs.
Adding to the danger of accidents are the constant distractions in cars: passengers, cell phones, texting, radios, televisions, food, beverages, etc. Car manufactures are even looking at ways to expand the use of the car’s dashboard as a computer terminal where you can connect to the internet to shop, check email and more. Even though many cities are passing ordinances limiting the use of cell phones and texting while driving it seems the technological distractions are only going to grow. When driving, you should put your full focus on the road to avoid not only causing accidents but also avoiding others who may hit your car.