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The worst auto accidents are caused by things we do every day

Driving is nothing short of a necessity in modern society. As writer E. B. White said, "Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car."

Every time you get behind the wheel of an automobile, you're putting yourself at some level of risk. We don't often think about these risks, but it's a fact that in 2015 the number of deaths in auto accidents spiked 8 percent, the largest increase in 50 years. It doesn't have to be this way, though.

The most common causes of car accidents are things you see, or maybe even do, every day. Take a moment to consider your driving habits and wonder if you might be putting yourself and others at risk.

Distracted driving

Checking important texts, eating a snack, putting on makeup, adjusting the radio, wrangling a child or pet; distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents the country over. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone is injured in an accident caused by distracted driving every 14 minutes.

You can help drive this number down by simply putting your phone on silent. People won't mind if you text them three minutes later than you meant to. Try to finish getting ready before you hop in the car, or keep your radio or iPod turned off and enjoy the silence of the ride.

Speeding

Everyone has been stuck behind a slowpoke, and it's never fun. That doesn't make it okay to burn rubber. Whether you're simply in a rush to get to work, or are startled by a hotrod revving their engine down the boulevard, remember that speeding is a key contributor to accidents, and not just with other vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists are struck by cars every day.

Running red lights

You probably see people running red lights every time you drive. This is one of the worst offenders of accidents and fatalities while driving, which may be as surprising as it is unfortunate.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2016, 811 people were killed in crashes that involved running a red light, and the majority of them were pedestrians. It seems so simple, but it's so often ignored: just stop at the red light.

Keep yourself and others safe when you're on the streets and highways. If you're a passenger to a risky driver, let them know they should focus. You could save someone other than just yourself.

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