Crash risk in California is almost 30% higher now than in 2019

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Drivers in California typically recognize that car crashes are one of the inherent risks of riding in or operating motor vehicles. Even the safest driver is at risk on public roads because they can cross paths with someone who had a few too many beers or who can’t put their phone down while driving.

While drivers have long had to account for the possibility of a collision, the risk they face is currently higher than it has been in years. According to an analysis of collisions in California between 2019 and 2022, it is currently far more dangerous on the roads in the Golden State than it was just a few years ago.

What did researchers uncover?

Despite vehicles becoming safer, traffic has become more dangerous. The potential of a fatal crash has increased in recent years, rather than decreasing. A motorist’s risk level for a fatal wreck was 28% higher in 2023 than it was in 2019, and early statistical analysis from 2023 indicates that the trend toward more and worse traffic crashes continued.

Many safety experts blame the shutdown in 2020 for triggering a surge in unsafe driving habits. Motorists, no longer facing congested traffic conditions, began speeding, driving aggressively and letting distraction affect their safety on the road. They continued those dangerous habits even when traffic levels increased, which is likely why crash rates have been so high over the last few years.

Drivers can react to this information in several different ways. They may decide to minimize driving when it is unnecessary or to choose to travel on roads with lower speed limits and less traffic. They may also want to prioritize safety ratings when requiring new vehicles in the future given the increased risk of the collision.

Finally, more diligent adherence to traffic rules and safety practices could reduce someone’s likelihood of a tragedy in traffic. Being honest about whether the last few years have caused changes in personal driving habits could help people address their unsafe practices and adopt better safety standards for themselves when they drive.

Reacting appropriately to changes in traffic trends can make a major difference for California motorists who want to avoid serious collisions. Motorists may also want to refresh themselves on how to effectively respond to a crash in case they experience one despite their best efforts.