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3 common causes of car accidents and how to avoid them

Lately, a lot of attention has been focused on distracted driving -- which is a major source of car accidents. However, there are other significant hazards on the road that drivers should keep in mind:

1. Defective Vehicles

It doesn't matter how safe your driving is if you're driving a vehicle that is mechanically unsound. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), defects that affect the safety of the vehicles on the road have led to over 390 million recalls over the last few decades. Some of the more notorious defects include steering failures, problems with exhausts that could lead to combustion during rear-end collisions and problems with the way that gear shafts are designed.

The only way to protect yourself from a safety defect is to make sure that you stay informed about any news reports that indicate a problem with the type of vehicle you drive and respond to any recall notices immediately.

2. Tailgaters

Everyone on the road has probably experienced a tailgater -- someone in a vehicle that's behind you who simply seems to be in a hurry. The tailgater's solution to traffic problems is to try to ride as close as possible to the rear bumper of the car just ahead of their own.

If you're in traffic with a tailgater, resist the impulse to go faster. It won't help you appease the tailgater anyhow, so don't put your life in danger by speeding. Instead, try slowing down and motioning the tailgater around you at the first possible point.

3. Potholes

Even a small pothole can mean big trouble if you hit one too fast or your tire lands in it the wrong way -- but that isn't their only danger. Other drivers may swerve to avoid a pothole without thinking and put themselves in your lane rather suddenly.

The only real way to protect yourself is to try to find a different route on a better road. If that isn't possible, slow down and give other drivers plenty of room in case they swerve.

If an accident happens despite your best efforts, talk to a car accident attorney about your rights. Defects in design, tailgating and potholes are symptoms of negligence, and you may be eligible for compensation.

Source: HuffPost, "Top 15 Causes Of Car Accidents And How You Can Prevent Them," Lalza King, accessed July 19, 2017

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