Avoid a car wreck using these 4 research-based tips

There are around 6 million crashes every year -- and the number that turn deadly is actually rising.

In 2015, the number of fatal accidents rose by 8 percent -- the largest single jump in half a century. In 2016, the number went up again. Despite all of the advancements there have been in technology, engineering and design, car wrecks keep getting more and more dangerous.

Is there anything you can do to protect yourself?

Yes! All that wonderful technology has allowed scientists to collect and crunch a lot of data on accidents. It's revealed the most frequent causes of dangerous crashes -- which can help you plan to avoid them.

The next time you're behind the wheel, avoid the following:

Rolling through a right turn at a red traffic light

Your chief danger at this point is killing a pedestrian -- "rolling rights" cause 6 percent of those fatalities. It takes about three extra seconds to make a complete stop at the red light, but those previous seconds allow you to fully shift your attention away from the oncoming traffic and toward the spot your car is moving.

Sleeping behind the wheel

Drowsy driving is responsible for 21 percent of all fatal car accidents. If you've ever had a sensation that your mind just literally stopped working for a second or two, you may be experiencing "microsleep" spells. The importance of a decent amount of sleep and a dose of caffeine can't be overstated when it comes to driving safety.

Tailgating

Rear-end collisions cause up to 30 percent of wrecks -- and tailgating is to blame for most of them. You can't get anywhere faster than the car that's ahead of you anyhow, so slow down. Hurrying really is pointless. Science says that rushing only gets you to your destination an average of 26 seconds faster.

Drifting out of your lane

Drifting into another lane or off the road altogether causes 33 percent of car accidents. A lot of times, distracted driving is responsible. Turn off your phone, leave the radio alone and don't try to multitask. Nobody is as good at as they actually believe.

Focusing on these things can't guarantee you'll stay accident-free but they do reduce the odds. Plus, if you are in a car accident, you'll at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you probably aren't to blame.

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