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4 common causes of California car wrecks

Quite simply, every time you get behind the wheel you risk being in an accident. While you may try to be a safe and conscientious driver, you cannot control when others decide to drink and drive or run a stop sign - thus putting your life in danger.

California drivers are no exception. In fact, according to the California Highway Patrol's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) 2013 Annual Report - the most recent year available - an alarming 223,128 people were injured in California car accidents in 2013, with an additional 3,104 traffic fatalities. In San Diego County alone, 17,898 people were injured and another 201 killed in traffic collisions during the same period.

Even though it may be impossible to completely eliminate all accidents on California roadways, it is still important to understand the common causes so you can do your part to help avoid them and make the roads a safer place.

1. Drunk driving

According to the SWITRS report, there were 23,178 injuries and 1,197 fatalities attributed to drunk driving accidents 2013. What is particularly sad is that drunk driving accidents can easily be avoided if intoxicated individuals simply choose not to get behind the wheel.

2. Distracted driving

Whether a driver is using his or her cellphone, fidgeting with the radio or simply not paying attention, distracted driving is a real problem of California highways. For instance, the California Office of Traffic Safety reports that over 60 percent of California drivers surveyed in 2014 claim they were either hit or almost hit by a motorist using his or her cellphone.

3. Speeding

By some estimates, speeding is a contributing factor to roughly 30 percent of all traffic fatalities. With statistics like this, it is quite obvious drivers need to start easing off the pedal.

4. Driver fatigue

While driver fatigue is an issue for all motorists, it is a particularly dangerous problem for truck drivers. After all, when a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel, he or she can do a significant amount of damage. Improving truck safety is especially important considering trucking accidents on California roadways led to 278 deaths in 2013, according to the SWITRS report.

It is important to remember, however, that this is merely a small sampling of the many common causes of California car accidents. Ultimately, traffic safety is a responsibility shared by us all. We must do our part to make the roads safer, even if that means always being on the lookout for bad drivers doing stupid things.

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