A new study analyzing motorists’ driving maneuvers finds that 6 of every 10 fatal accidents occur when a vehicle goes straight without trying to change direction. Failing to negotiate a curve occurs in 1 of every 5 deadly accidents.
Those are the conclusions of a study by Zinda Law Group, which is based in Austin, Texas, and has offices in five states. The firm’s personal injury lawyers analyzed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2017-2021 data for fatal accidents involving one or two vehicles.
The federal government data, according to Zinda Law Group, shows that going straight, negotiating a curve and turning left are the three most common driving maneuvers before a deadly crash in nearly all states. In Massachusetts, Michigan and the District of Columbia, going straight is the most common maneuver in these accidents, turning left is the second-most common pre-event movement and attempting to negotiate a curve is third.
The maneuvers associated with the lowest fatality rates are parking in a travel lane, merging and backing up from any position other than parking.
“The fact that the vast majority of fatal crashes in the U.S. happen because drivers simply go straight highlights the importance of not panicking behind the wheel,” says Caitlin Matthews, Zinda Law Group’s vice president of marketing. “It can also be lifesaving to be especially aware of carefully negotiating curves in mountainous areas.”
Other study conclusions:
*Three of every four fatal crashes of one or two vehicles in Michigan and Massachusetts happen while the driver is going straight ahead. In Michigan, going straight is more likely to lead to a fatal accident than doing so in other states.
*Negotiating a curve in Vermont, Montana and New Hampshire is most dangerous, causing about one-third of all accidents involving one or two vehicles. It is more dangerous to negotiate a curve in Vermont than anywhere else in America.
*Turning left when driving in the District of Columbia is nearly twice as unsafe as the national average.
*Hawaii is the most dangerous state for passing or overtaking another vehicle. The odds of a fatality after such maneuvers are 5.16%, compared to a U.S. average of 2.11%.