Most people don’t think twice about getting into a car accident as they back out of the driveway and head off to work. And maybe that’s a good thing. If they really knew the risks they were facing, would they even want to drive again? Seeing a car accident as an obscure and unfortunate event that may happen to someone else gives you the courage to get on the road yourself.
Of course, that feeling isn’t justified. Driving is dangerous — for many people, they never do anything that is more dangerous in their lives.
How the statistics tell the true story
The problem is that accident stories seem anecdotal, not real. Finding out that someone else got injured is interesting, but, once again, it doesn’t feel like it will happen to you. When you look at the statistics, that’s when you really get a sense of the scope of the problem. Here are some important ones to consider:
- Every year, almost 40,000 people die in these accidents. For instance, in 2019, the total was 36,096. For the sake of comparison, UCONN has an enrollment of around 32,000 students. Enough people die on the roads to entirely wipe out that student body, with thousands more besides.
- The statistics from 2020 show that fatalities were actually trending up, rising by about 4.6%. This problem is only getting worse.
- Young people face vastly higher risks. For instance, those from 16-20 are a tiny percentage of drivers, but they’re involved in 34% of these deadly crashes. The next highest group is those from 21-24, at 33.5%.
- 7% of car accident deaths in 2018 were linked to racing or driving too fast for conditions. That’s the largest defined category reported.
These stats are shocking on their own, but they don’t even touch are injuries, which happen far more than fatalities. It’s very clear that driving is exceedingly dangerous. Unfortunately, just knowing that doesn’t always protect you from other drivers, so you must know what legal options you have if you’re injured.