What to Know About Mechanical Failure – 2020 Guide
No one wants to be involved in car accidents, but unfortunately, they’re a part of life. Understanding some of the biggest risk factors for car accidents can help you stay safe and help you avoid these potential scenarios.
One of the biggest general factors leading to car accidents is human error. In most cases, human error is the most dominant factor contributing to preventable vehicle collisions, according to Jacoby & Meyers Personal Injury Attorneys.
Human Error and Car Accidents
Human error is usually anything that’s unreasonably dangerous and leads to harm of yourself or someone else.
Examples of human errors that tend to frequently lead to vehicle accidents include:
- Not yielding. Drivers have to yield the right-of-way in different driving situations, yet they don’t always do so.
- Speeding results in more than 9,000 deaths annually. When you’re speeding, you have less time to see and respond to a hazard in the road.
- Distracted driving is a big reason for many roadway accidents. There are three types of distracted driving. Manual distracted driving means you’re removing your hands from the steering wheel.
- Visually distracted driving is something that leads you to take your eyes on the road. Then, there’s cognitive distracted driving which occurs when your mind is on something else besides driving.
- Impairment from drugs and alcohol is considered a human error that leads to accidents, many of which end up being catastrophic or fatal.
- Driving while fatigued, which can be as hazardous as driving under the influence of a substance.
Other situations where human error can contribute to roadway collisions and accidents include aggressive driving, wrong-way driving, and tailgating.
When you take out the human error that accounts for the overwhelming majority of all accidents, you’re then left with a few other situations that can serve as contributors.
Mechanical failure is one of those.
The following are some of the most common situations where mechanical failure can occur, and what to know these accidents.
What Is Mechanical Failure?
Understanding mechanical failure is an important part of being a driver. To prevent it, you should have at least some knowledge of how your car works, what the warning signs are there may be a problem, and the overall condition your vehicle is in.
If you can give yourself knowledge on common causes of mechanical failure and recognizing them, you may be a safer and more empowered driver.
Common mechanical failures include:
- Faulty brakes: This can be one of the most serious and dangerous mechanical failures. If you’re driving at a relatively high speed and your brakes aren’t working the way they should, it can quickly turn into a tragedy. You need to have your brake pads replaced regularly, and you need to ensure you have adequate clean brake fluid with no leaks. You might also want to have your antilock brake system inspected regularly.
- Tires: You have to rotate and change your tires for a reason. Your treads wear down over time. When those treads are too worn down, it becomes challenging to stop your car fully. Additionally, if your tires aren’t inflated at the proper level, it can contribute to an accident. If you have too little air, it can impact your traction and ability to turn. If you have too much air, it can cause a blowout.
- Steering: Your steering system is pricey, but if it malfunctions, you lose control of your vehicle.
- Wipers: Your windshield wipers are a much more important piece of equipment than you might give them credit for. If they aren’t working well, you can lose visibility quickly.
- Headlights and taillights: If your headlights or taillights are out, it can make it more difficult if not impossible to see hazards on the road, or for other drives to see you.
- Hacking: This is one that wasn’t common a few years ago, but is becoming a growing risk. Your car’s computer system can be hacked like any other digital system. If someone hacks your car system, it can prevent you from steering or braking properly, or a hack might cause your car to stop suddenly in the middle of the road.
- Engine failure: If your vehicle temperature seems to be going up quickly or you don’t regularly get your oil changed, you might, at some point, face an issue with your engine.
Who’s Responsible If You’re in an Accident?
If you’re in an accident related to mechanical failure, you might wonder who’s legally responsible. The answer can be complicated, and it depends on the situation.
For example, a mechanic could be responsible if they recently did maintenance on a vehicle or replaced a part and that part failed. Repair shops have a responsibility to perform work in a skilled way and use the standard set of skills and knowledge expected of a mechanic. In these situations, it can be difficult to prove the mechanic was liable.
With that being said, as the driver or owner of a vehicle, you’re expected to maintain it and not drive it when you shouldn’t. If you don’t follow your car’s maintenance schedule or there was a mechanical issue that you should have reasonably known about that causes a car accident, it may be your fault.
There are a lot of instances where mechanical failures are considered the fault of car manufacturers.
There was a high-profile case back in 2009 and 2010 with Toyota, for example. They had to recall millions of their vehicles, and they were engaged in settling class-action lawsuits because an investigator found there was a potential for the accelerator pedal to get stuck.
If a mechanical issue results from the way a car is designed or built, the manufacturer may be liable.
On your end, the best thing you can do is pay attention to your car’s maintenance, have it checked out regularly, and you should rely on a reputable, quality repair shop to do work when it’s needed.