5 Surprising Truths About Road Accidents


Is the use of mobile phones while driving the biggest cause of road accidents? Or are road mishaps more likely due to road rage? 

Recent studies reveal some surprising factors of traffic accidents globally. Everyone thinks they are good drivers, but the sad truth is, car accidents happen regardless of your driving skills. So, what causes car accidents?

1) Obese people are more likely to die in a car crash

Thinking of starting on a fitness regime to lose weight? Here is a valid reason to get started as soon as possible.

Study finds obese drivers are 78% more likely to die in a car crash than normal-weight drivers. According to the UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation and Research Education Center (SafeTREC), obesity may be a factor in fatal motor vehicle accidents.

Through the research conducted, researchers found that people who had a World Health Organization classification of obesity level I (BMI of 30.0 to 34.9) were 21% more likely to die than normal weight drivers.

Those in obesity level II (BMI of 35 to 39.9) were 51% more likely to die, and those with the highest level, obesity III (BMI of 40.0 or greater), were 80% more likely to die from the accident than normal weight drivers.

What explains the added risk?

The researchers believe the lower body of obese drivers is pushed forward further on impact before the seat belt reaches the pelvis because of the extra soft tissue, while the upper body is kept restrained.

This stops the driver from moving forward, which may cause fatal injuries, according to the researchers.

“This adds one more item to the long list of negative consequences of obesity,” lead author, Thomas M.

Rice, an epidemiologist with the Transportation Research and Education Center of the University of California, Berkeley, told the New York Times. “It’s one more reason to lose weight.”

2) Mobile phones may not cause more car accidents

Talking on the mobile phone while driving is illegal and it is widely believed to be dangerous and could lead to car accidents. However, a research conducted by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that talking on a mobile phone while driving does not increase crash risk.

The study analysed data from a major cellular phone provider and accident reports and found that mobile phone use does not necessarily increase an individual’s crash risk.

What is the reason behind this contradictory finding?

According to Saurabh Bhargava, assistant professor of social and decision sciences in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, drivers may compensate for the distraction of mobile phone use by selectively deciding when to make a call or consciously driving more carefully during a call.

However, using the mobile phone is still a major distraction while driving and they can lead to road accidents.

In Switzerland, the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention said that lack of attention by drivers is the biggest single cause of serious road accidents. Motorists are mainly distracted by mobile phones, passengers, advertising boards and too many road signs.

Putting your phone away while driving is still the best, and legal thing to do, to avoid endangering your life and the lives of others while on the road.

3) Safety features in car may not reduce traffic accidents

Just bought a new ride with ABS brake and air bags at every seat? These safety features may not decrease your risk of automobile accidents.

Based on a study conducted by Dr. Fred Mannering from Purdue University on automobile accidents between 1992 and 1997, it was found that there was no major reduction in accidents even with these seemingly effective safety features.

“People have an acceptance of a level of safety. If they felt safer because of the air bags and brakes, then maybe they drove faster or switched the radio on and off more to, so to speak, compensate,” said Mannering to the New York Times.

Drivers are advised to be careful even with these safety features installed in their cars.

4) Car drivers are to be blamed for most motorcyclist accidents

According to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), fatal motorcycle accidents have been steadily increasing with the total of 6,871 deaths in Malaysia in 2010.

Car drivers have always pointed to reckless motorcycle drivers careening in and out of traffic for putting their own lives at risk.

So, who’s mostly to be blamed when four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles collide?

According to a recent Florida Department of Transportation study, bikers are right. Motorists driving cars and trucks are mostly at fault, often failing to give way to the smaller vehicles.

It pays to be extra alert and careful, especially when a designated motorcyclist lane is not available.

5) Malaysian women drivers are angrier but have fewer accidents than men

Malaysian women drivers are found to be angrier than men behind the wheel, based on a study conducted by Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS).

However, despite their higher levels of anger, women drivers suffer fewer crashes and road fatalities.

Karen Goonting, MIROS researcher and psychologist said despite their inclination to be angrier, fewer women drivers were involved in accidents because they tend to keep their anger bottled up.

“Men are more prone to act out on their anger and may express it physically, as opposed to women. It may also be due to cultural factors. It is not generally acceptable for Asian women to be outwardly aggressive,” she told The Star.

The above research findings may be surprising but it definitely helps drivers to be more alert and avoid high-risk behaviour while on the road.

This handy list will help drivers be even more careful in their driving and save more on No Claim Discounts (NCD).

To better protect yourself and your vehicle in the event of a road mishap, choose the best comprehensive car insurance.


* Article was first published on Astro Awani

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