We often think of car accidents when preparing to travel out of town – getting ready to visit a family for the holiday or make a summer road trip for the family vacation – we get the car serviced, change the oil and filters, check the air in the tires, plan our route, and make sure that we are being extra careful on unfamiliar roads – we even worry when we have to drive to a nearby town or spend a few hours on the road for work – but statistics paint a very different picture of when we should worry.
Since the first time I have heard this number, derived from reported insurance claims, it has stuck with me.
52% of all car wrecks occur within 5 miles of home. FIFTY TWO PERCENT – more than HALF of all auto accidents happen when the driver is within 5 miles of their home. Even more mind bending is that 69% of car wrecks occur within 10 miles of home and 77% within 15 miles.
Researchers have theorized all sorts of reasons for these statistics – people are more relaxed closer to home and paying less attention, people spend more time driving and drive more miles in a closer distance to their home, people are tired early in the morning or late in the evening when leaving or returning to home – the possible reasons are endless – but a key takeaway remains – it is not safe just because you are almost home.
I can’t count the number of times my Son or Daughter has asked to unbuckle or get out of their car seat as we get closer to home – I always decline the request of course, but it could be easy to slip into a mindset that it was because “were almost home.”
So please be vigilant – pay attention to road – stop for a coffee if you are getting tired – and keep in mind that you are not more likely to get into a car accident when you are heading out of town for that big trip, you are more likely to get hurt running to the closet store to pick up a gallon of milk or on your way home from work.