Kentucky town from overhead

If you live in Kentucky, there is a roughly 1-in-30 chance that you’ll be in a car crash any given year. Among all 50 states, those aren’t great odds. In fact, Kentucky ranks 9th for most car crashes per capita.

It doesn’t have to be this way; many of these crashes are preventable. To help illustrate, we’ve put together this handy guide exploring the top 5 causes of Kentucky car crashes and how to avoid them.

A Word on Crashes

Before we get started, it’s important to set a good baseline. According to the Kentucky State Police, 2019 saw a total of 156,700 car crashes in our state, including 680 traffic fatalities. That’s a significant improvement over the past few years. In 2016, the state had an additional 10,000 crashes and 100 fatalities.

The data points to Kentucky drivers becoming safer overall, but there’s still a long way to go. Statistics collected by the state police clue us in to the top 5 causes of Kentucky car crashes. Those are:

  • Distracted Driving: 19%
  • Drunk Driving: 12%
  • Failure to Yield: 12%
  • Unsafe Speeding: 12%
  • Lost Control on Slippery Surface: 10%

With that in mind, let’s explore each of these to get a better idea of what you can do to prevent these crashes.

Distracted Driving

Anything that pulls at your focus is a driving distraction. It doesn’t matter if it’s your phone, the radio, your coffee, or a passenger talking to you. All of these things are distracting and they add up (even if you don’t realize it).

The more distractions present, the less focus you can dedicate to driving. The less focus you have, the less likely you are to recognize when you’re in danger or when you are at risk of crashing.

Remember, distractions can wait. Pull over if you absolutely need to answer a text or talk on the phone.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is less of an issue in Kentucky than in other parts of the country, but it is still a pain point in many car crashes. These crashes have a higher risk of causing a fatality because they often result in the intoxicated driver is speeding or running a red light, leading to a t-bone collision.

While you can’t always identify a drunk driver before the crash, you can report unsafe or reckless drivers to the police when you see them. Additionally, one of the most effective ways to avoid an encounter with a drunk driver is to avoid driving between 1 am - 4 am, which is when drunk drivers are most active.

Failure to Yield

Whether it’s misjudging an unprotected left turn or running a red light, a failure to yield is extremely serious. One of the reasons these crashes are so severe is because they tend to cause t-bone collisions. T-bones account for 10% of all crashes, but 20% of all car crash fatalities because they typically hit the driver directly without the buffer of the crumple zone to protect them.

Be extra cautious any time you approach an intersection, and look left and right even if you have the green light. It just might save you from a preventable accident.

Unsafe Speeding

It’s simple physics. The faster a vehicle moves and the heavier it is, the more damage it will cause in a wreck. While many drivers have done mild speeding at one time or another, the real risk comes from speeds that are clearly unsafe for the environment (going 85 in a 55 zone, for example). Remember, faster speeds require faster reaction times to avoid disaster.

In any case, the best way to avoid a speeding-related crash is to be mindful of the speed limit and drive defensively, always anticipating that the driver ahead of you might make the wrong move.

Slippery Surface

While weather-related crashes aren’t as common as other kinds of accidents, it’s good to know what to do in hazardous conditions. First, slow down. Slippery conditions significantly increase your braking distance which can be hard to adjust for if you’re unprepared.

Second, if you start hydroplaning (or sliding on the road) you need to remain calm. While many drivers instinctively slam the brakes and turn their wheel away from the skid, that will likely only make things worse.

The preferred way to regain traction is to let off the accelerator and gently turn toward the direction of the skid if you are able. This will help you regain control so you can pull out of a skid before it turns into a fishtail or even a spinout.

If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Kentucky car accident attorney who will work tirelessly on your behalf, don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (270) 423-0023.

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