The United States is largely a country where you need to drive your own car. It is a massive country with vastly spread-out communities. Many workers live dozens of miles from work, so walking, biking and taking the bus just aren’t viable options. They spent time on the road every single day.
That said, nearly 40,000 people die each year in traffic accidents. There are hundreds of thousands of other accidents resulting in injuries of varying severity — everything from minor cuts and bruises to life-altering brain and spinal cord injuries.
Why do we continue to drive as much as we do? Almost no one realistically thinks about swearing off driving and staying off of the road. If 40,000 people died from some other clear cause, people would express severe concern about engaging in that activity, but driving doesn’t get the same treatment.
Someone else’s problem
The biggest reason is just that people tend to think of car accidents as someone else’s problem. Until it happens to them, they assume that it will not.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t know it’s a risk. They do. They just trust that they can drive safely and that they can avoid accidents. And, for those who have been doing so for years, this seems to be proof that they’re right.
You only control so much
The problem, though, is that you can only control so much. You may feel like you can drive well enough to avoid a crash, but the drivers around you are still going to be inexperienced, reckless, impaired or distracted. You should strive to drive as safely as possible, but you also have to remember that someone else can seriously injury you in an accident. Every time you drive, they have some level of control over the outcome of your trip.
What should you do next?
Driving feels safe, but it only takes one crash for that whole illusion to be shattered. By the time you understand the risk, it’s too late to avoid it. After someone else causes extensive injuries, make sure you know what legal options you have to seek compensation.