Crash injury prevention: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Like most people, you probably don't spend too much time thinking about car accidents. You likely already know how important it is to abstain from drinking and driving, to buckle up and to drive the speed limit. If you are a parent of a teen who has a driver's license, you may worry a bit more than childless individuals about the increased likelihood of accident, but for the most part, you may not give the issues of motor vehicle crashes much thought.

This, unfortunately, might be a big mistake, one that is potentially both dangerous and costly. In the United States, car accidents are a leading cause of injury, resulting in the hospitalization of more than 200,000 Americans a year, with an approximate lifetime medical cost for crash injuries of $57,000 each! That's a terribly big price tag for being unprepared! So is there anything you can do to help lower your chances of suffering severe motor vehicle accident injuries?

Car crash fast facts

As little as five years ago, a compilation of data showed the following statistics:

  • Over 2.5 million Americans visited the emergency room for treatment of injuries suffered in automobile accidents.
  • Each year, Americans spend over one million days hospitalized due to car crash injuries.
  • The lifetime medical costs for treating injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents was $18 billion.
  • Crash injuries cost approximately $33 billion in lifetime lost wages.
  • Emergency room visits due to motor vehicle accidents cost an average of $3,300 each.

The numbers are alarming, to say the least. Of course, you can be doing everything right as a driver and still suffer a devastating motor vehicle accident due to another driver's fault or negligence, but there are ways to at reduce your risk of severe injury.

Tips to decrease crash injuries and deaths

There are many programs the government – both state and federal – has implemented in an attempt to increase driving safety, but as an individual driver, there are things you do to help reduce the risk of accident and injury for you and your passengers.

  • Try to arrange your driving schedule for times when you will be well-rested and less distracted.
  • If possible, purchase a vehicle with advanced safety features.
  • Use a seat belt for yourself and every passenger on every trip, no matter how short.
  • Find an alternative mode of transportation after imbibing alcohol.

You can find lists of these safety tips and more can online for review on your own or with your teen driver. While being prepared cannot prevent every motor vehicle accident, of course, it will hopefully help you avoid severe injury or even fatalities in serious car wrecks. If you or a loved one does suffer serious injuries, of course, there are professional resources available, but avoiding the accident in the first place is always preferable.

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