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3 of the biggest risk factors for a major crash

Most people who regularly drive on public roads in Iowa already take steps to reduce the risk of a motor vehicle collision. Even a minor crash which results in nothing but property damage can be expensive and time consuming. All too often, however, people end up injured or even dead as the result of a crash.

In order to avoid becoming part of a major collision, you can follow certain steps to reduce your risk. One of the simplest ways to reduce the potential for an accident is to understand what factors most contribute to your likelihood of having one.

Distracted driving is the biggest risk

With everyone constantly updating their Twitter feeds and texting with friends, it's no wonder that distracted driving has become the single biggest cause of crashes in the United States. Cellphones are definitely a big part of the problem. People use them at stop signs, while waiting at lights or even when driving actively.

Of course, phones aren't the only source of distraction. Distraction can also come from fighting with someone in the car or on the phone. Changing the radio station or music, adjusting a seat, eating, putting on makeup and even changing clothing are common forms of distraction. If you see a driver on one's phone or engaged in something other than driving, avoid driving right next to or behind the car if possible.

Exceeding the speed limit causes crashes

The faster a driver goes, the less time he or she will have to respond to something unexpected in front of the vehicle. There's also an increased risk of losing control of the vehicle. Speeding may seem fun or even practical, but, in reality, it is quite dangerous.

Major crashes happen every day because someone was going to fast for the road, traffic levels and weather conditions. Speeding often doesn't just endanger people in the vehicle going fast. It endangers other people in vehicles, pedestrians and even people on bicycles or motorcycles. Speeding is not worth the risk. If you see someone else driving at an inappropriate speed, let the car pass you to avoid sharing the road with that person longer than necessary.

Impairment is also a major factor in crashes

Far too many people choose to get behind the wheel of motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol, prescription medication or illegal drugs. Doing so creates a lot of risk for the intoxicated person and everyone who shares the road with him or her.

If you see someone swerving or driving in an unusual or dangerous manner, avoid them. If possible, pull off the road and call to report what you're seeing to local law enforcement. If not, changing your route to avoid the erratic driver may be your best course of action.

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