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Physical Impairment as a Cause of Car Accidents

Car accidents are caused each year by drivers affected by a variety of factors. Drivers are recently more distracted as technology keeps the world connected at the touch of a fingertip, making simple tasks even simpler and multitasking a universal constant. Alcohol and drugs cause a large percentage of vehicle collisions in the United States each year as well, despite the variety of state laws against driving under the influence. One of the most common causes of accidental collisions on the road, however, are an assortment of physical impairments that many people do not even realize affect their driving until they hit another car.

What kinds of physical impairments cause accidents?When on the road, the best way to assess surroundings and make decisions is by eyesight. Since driving so fundamentally requires motorists to be able to see well, most physical impairments that result in car accidents affect the eyes and related nerves. Having bad eyesight can impair driving and cause accidents, which is why it is always important to wear corrective glasses or contact lenses. Bad vision isn’t just genetic, however, and can be brought about by bodily fatigue, advanced age, or sleep deprivation as well. When eyes are tired, it becomes difficult to see pedestrians or other cars, navigate through inclement weather, and follow road signs, often resulting in a motor vehicle accident.

Loss of sight isn’t the only physical impairment that can cause accidents, however. The ability to hear car horns is a factor that isn’t needed often, but is extremely important when honking occurs. For the most part, horns allow drivers to communicate that something dangerous is about to happen. Sometimes a driver is merging and doesn’t see the car in his blind spot, but the other car’s loud honk can alert that driver before a collision occurs. General bodily fatigue or physical injury can also impair a driver’s ability to avoid a car accident, depending on where and how extensive the injury is and if the fatigue is severe enough to affect the driver’s mental state and sense of coordination.

How can these accidents be avoided?

It is important to receive regular eye exams and to wear any required corrective lenses while driving. This is especially important for older drivers since advanced age often results in deteriorating eyesight. If drivers are overly tired, they should avoid getting behind the wheel at all or trying to get some sleep before they need to drive. If either eyes or ears are impaired, it is recommended that another driver in the front passenger seat be present to help point out any visual or auditory cues that the driver may overlook. Finally, if the driver is injured or fatigued, it may be a better idea to avoid driving at all and seek public transportation or carpool to his destination.