The most common causes of motor vehicle collisions are speeding or failing to drive at a safe speed for road conditions (including weather), failing to maintain a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you, failing to maintain control of your car, and distracted driving. Any of the these causes alone can cause a traffic collision when a motor vehicle in front of you is forced to make a sudden stop or when another vehicle pulls out in front of you. But frequently, a combination of two or more of the causes are at issue and lead to the collision being inevitable.
For example, it is easy for people to justify reading a text message while driving because they fail to realize the significance of what can occur in only a few seconds of distraction. Understanding the calculation that 1 mile per hour equals 1.467 feet per second helps put the actual danger in perspective. If you are driving at 50 miles per hour, you are traveling nearly 75 feet per second (73.35 feet exactly). Accordingly, in the 2 seconds it might take one to read a relatively short text, you are traveling nearly 150 feet or 50 yards at such speed. During such time, many unexpected things can occur, including a car in front of you slowing down or coming to a sudden stop. Similarly, another car can start pulling out in front of you. If you are already speeding or failing to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you, any such unexpected events can readily result in a collision.
While we cannot control what other drivers are doing, we can help avoid collisions by properly controlling our own driving, including following the posted speed limit, lowering our speed if weather conditions require it, keeping a safe distance between any cars in front of us, and keeping ourselves focused on the road in front of us rather than being distracted.