You probably completely ignore one of the biggest risks you take every day. When you get behind the wheel of a car or ride as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, you are at risk of getting into a crash.
Thankfully, with improved safety features in modern vehicles, recent years have seen a downward trend in the total number of crashes and the number of fatalities because of car crashes. Sadly, 2020 seems to have reversed that trend, leading to a massive uptick in crashes overall and collision-related fatalities.
What happened to crash rates in 2020?
2020 saw a massive increase in crash-related deaths even though drivers traveled far fewer miles than in recent years. Overall, crash rates went up 8% from 2019 to 2020, and fatal crash rates went up a shocking 24%. That increase is the highest ever recorded in the years since the National Safety Council (NSC) first began tracking traffic deaths in 1924.
The NSC estimates that roughly 42,000 people died in traffic crashes in 2020, and a staggering 4.8 million people suffered serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions. Overall, those crashes will cost Americans about $474 billion. Other drivers will share the cost of those crashes via their insurance premiums and contribution government insurance programs that often support those left with permanent injuries and an inability to work.
It is of particular concern that crash rates increased at the same time that the number of miles driven decreased. That could bode poorly for the overall crash rates and fatalities in 2021 as the average number of miles traveled per driver will likely increase.
Proactive and careful driving has never been more important
You take your life into your hands every time you commute to work or drive to the doctor’s office. It is crucial to your safety and the safety of other people in the vehicle that you recognize the risks inherent in driving.
Being proactive about your safety on the road might involve waiting an extra second at an intersection so that you don’t misjudge the actions of the vehicle in front of you. It might mean making vehicle selections based on their safety ratings rather than their appearance and carrying extra insurance to protect yourself.
Knowing how to respond after a crash can also be important, especially if you need to file an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit against a driver who hurts you or someone you love.