Can Regular Car Maintenance Prevent Auto Accidents?

Every year in the United States, millions of car accidents take place. Statistics from 2013 show that 5,687,000 car crashes were reported that year, representing a one percent increase from the year prior. While car crash fatalities have decreased since 2005, there are still approximately 96 people who die in road collisions on a daily basis. And although car crash statistics in Canada are significantly lower than those in the United States, there are still too many injuries and deaths that occur as a result of road collisions in both nations.

Of course, there are a number of factors that can come into play when an accident occurs. The likelihood of a crash will increase when a driver travels above the speed limit, chooses to drink and drive, or becomes distracted behind the wheel. According to a recent survey of drivers in British Columbia, 75 percent of participants admitted to having bad driving habits. But human error isn’t the only danger here. In some cases, the upkeep, or lack thereof, of a given vehicle can make a collision more likely to occur.

Poor vehicle maintenance can cause collisions

Although there’s much to be said about practicing safe driving behaviors to prevent road accidents, it’s also essential to prioritize regular car maintenance to decrease your likelihood of a crash. According to a recent traffic safety report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the vehicle itself was designated as the “critical reason” for an accident in approximately two percent of crashes from 2005 to 2007.

Of those cases, approximately 15,000 collisions were related to the vehicle’s tires or wheels, with approximately 10,000 being attributed to the vehicle’s brakes, and 2,000 others connected to issues with the steering, the transmission, the suspension, or the engine. In 17,000 other cases, the exact vehicle-related cause of the crash was unknown (which could include internal issues that a visual examination would not reveal).

Other studies performed by NHTSA reveal that vehicle malfunction can result in 45,000 accidents per year. While not all of those accidents may be due to lack of maintenance, it’s important to note that poor upkeep can make vehicle malfunction more likely. Issues with tires and brake pads are easily preventable, but ignoring these issues can put your safety and the safety of others at risk while driving.

How to maintain your vehicle to prioritize road safety

It may sound basic to recommend that you have your vehicle serviced regularly, but this nominal commitment can make a huge difference in your chances of being involved in a crash. Whether you’re a total automobile novice or know your way around an engine, you should take your car in for a yearly inspection to knowledgeable individuals who have successfully completed automotive, diesel and collision repair academic programs or an experienced professional you trust.

You should also take care of any issues with your tires, brakes, suspension, steering, lights, battery, coolant, oil, fluid, and other essential components as soon as you suspect something may be amiss. Keep in mind that a poorly-executed repair is just as dangerous as avoiding a repair altogether. Be sure to do your research and bring your vehicle to a reputable repair provider without delay.

As a general rule of thumb, you should check your tire pressure every month and the tire tread every three months. Change your brake fluid every four years and have your brakes checked if you hear strange noises or feel pulsation and drag when you apply them. Stay on top of any auto recalls and follow the instructions sent to you to ensure your safety. Don’t overlook the importance of having clean mirrors and windows, either.

What to do if you’re in an accident due to maintenance issues

It’s important to note that drivers have a duty to maintain their vehicles and ensure they’re in good working order. Failure to do this can indicate negligence on the part of the motorist. This is especially true if it can be proven that the driver was aware of a given malfunction and took no steps to rectify the situation in a reasonable amount of time.

In other words, if you are hurt in an accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence in failure to repair and maintain his or her vehicle, you may want to consider hiring a car accident lawyer in Vancouver to assess your options for filing a personal injury claim.

Although improper vehicle maintenance accounts for a far smaller percentage of accidents than the behaviors of drivers operating these vehicles, having a vehicle in a state of disrepair certainly doesn’t improve your chances of staying safe on the road. What’s more, prioritizing vehicle maintenance is a relatively easy way to reduce your risk of being involved in a crash. After all, you can follow the law and make good decisions behind the wheel, but if your brakes go out or your steering malfunctions due to delayed maintenance, you and others around you could be harmed in an instant.

To avoid this scenario, don’t skip out on your vehicle maintenance responsibilities. Ignoring the lights on your dashboard or waiting an extra month to schedule your inspection could have much more dire consequences than you might realize.