Where do car accidents most frequently happen? Many of us assume they occur on unfamiliar roads far from home or in crowded cities during rush hour. However, multiple studies show that you’re more likely to get into a collision within 10 miles of your home.

According to a survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 52 percent of all collisions occur within a five-mile radius of a driver’s residence and 69 percent within 10 miles. A large percentage also take place two or fewer miles from home.

Why are drivers so prone to accidents in familiar territory? It boils down to the following reasons.

1. A False Sense of Security

silver car speeding around a cornerThe closer we are to home, the more we let our guard down. Because we have traveled the roads so often, we may look away more or drive less defensively than usual. Simply going through the motions of driving could lead to you hitting a parked car or rolling through a stop sign.

A survey by Progressive Insurance found that:

  • Drivers in familiar places rely on muscle memory or go on auto pilot, making them less vigilant when just five minutes from home.
  • Due to the repetitive motions, drivers are more likely to be relaxed along these routes.
  • Drivers are typically distracted. When you feel confident that you know the route, you’re more likely to text, talk on the phone, tune the radio, talk to other passengers or do makeup.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) also found that less drivers buckle up for short distances, increasing their chances of injury in a crash. Added to these risks, a high percentage of inebriated drivers are involved in these types of accidents.

2. Accidents are Often Minor

The typical accident close to home is not a life-changing collision. Rather, these incidents are typically fender-benders, including:

  • Hitting a parked car – the most common type.
  • A neighbor pulls out of his driveway without looking behind or checking blind spots and hits your car.
  • Someone backing out of a parking space at the local grocery store hits your car.
  • A driver reverses without looking and hits a wall, fence or other fixed structure.
  • Collisions on side or secondary roads, where you believe you’re the only driver.
  • Driving on a minor or side road, you forget to look both ways before you turn.
  • Driving too fast through a parking lot, pulling into a space and hitting an adjacent vehicle
  • Not paying attention to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Another factor that reduces the fatality rate of these collisions is the fact that most occur at lower speeds with less impact between vehicles. On the flip side, the farther you are from home, the more severe the accident tends to be.

3. How to Drive Close to Home

Whether you’re five or 50 miles away from home, you decrease your chances of an accident by:

  1. Staying Alert: Get enough sleep, avoid medications with sleepiness as a side effect and never drink and drive.
  2. Buckle Up: You never know when a car is going to suddenly pull out of a driveway and hit you from the side.
  3. Be Ready to React: Stay on the lookout for other drivers who may be distracted, animals crossing the road, bad weather and equipment failure.
  4. Know the Stats: Accidents are more likely to occur in the late afternoon and early evening from 7 pm to 10 pm, especially on the weekends.
  5. Drive Defensively: Even close to home, pay attention to what’s ahead, always be ready to react and follow the rules of the road.

A motor vehicle accident can change the course of your life resulting in time off work, medical bills and long-term therapy. Yet, insurance companies will try to place the blame on you and offer less of a settlement than you deserve. For fair compensation, contact Trantolo & Trantolo to speak with an experienced attorney today.