The most notorious causes of fatal car accidents are drunk driving, distracted driving and speeding. These tend to get the most attention, and for good reason, as preventing these hazards can eliminate high numbers of traffic-related deaths.
However, they are not the only reasons motor vehicle crashes happen, nor are they the biggest culprits in every state, reveals the Auto Insurance Center. In fact, the number-one cause of deadly collisions in Arizona is probably not one you would have thought of: failing to yield the right of way to others.
What does failure to yield the right of way mean?
Driving requires sharing the road not only with other vehicles, including motorcycles, but also with pedestrians and cyclists. Right of way refers to the laws regarding whose turn it is to go on the road. When people do not follow these rules, accidents often occur. Examples where right of way applies include:
- All-way and two-way stops
- T-shape intersections
- Pedestrian crosswalks
- Bicycle lanes
- Freeway entrances
- Construction zones
- Intersections with traffic signals
- Alleys and driveways
Sometimes people do not know what the rules are, but other times they willfully disregard them. In either case, those who are at fault for auto accidents are legally accountable for the harm they cause.
Why are these accidents so deadly?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 25 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in all 2016 crash types were from side collisions, 17 percent when single vehicles were involved and 32 percent when multiple vehicles were involved.
Failure to yield to right of way is deadly because it often involves parties with little to no protection. Pedestrians, cyclists and bikers are at high risk of fatality when vehicles strike them. When it comes to cars hitting other cars, there is less protection on the sides of vehicles than there is in the front and rear. Cars rolling over from the impact can also occur and lead to severe injuries.