AVOIDING AND MANAGING MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS Driving is one of the single most dangerous activities in the United States- virtually every driver will experience an accident over their lifetime, and motor vehicle accidents remain a leading cause of death among young people. That said, most Americans continue to rely on their cars for daily transportation. Given this circumstance, its important to understand how to decrease your risk of an accident, but also, the steps and procedures that need to be observed should an accident occur. On average, drivers will experience an accident every 17.9 years. Most American start driving at or around age 16, which means almost every driver on the road will be involved with an accident by the time they are 35. There are, however, a few simple, and logical precautions that can greatly reduce this risk: •Drunk driving remains a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. In 2010, nearly one third of all traffic fatalities involved an alcohol impaired driver. Avoiding these circumstances is a must.•Distracted driving is a growing cause of accidents, and accounted for nearly 10% of traffic deaths in 2012. Phones, food, and the radio are all examples of potential driving distractions.•Motorcyclists and pedestrians are involved in a high proportion of fatal accidents. While driving your car, watch out for motorcycles and walkers- they can be hard to spot, and are more likely to suffer serious injury in an accident. •Construction sites or other zones with changing traffic patterns, speed limits, and congestion are unusually dangerous. Be especially aware in these areas. Even if all of these precautions are perfectly observed, the reality is that accidents will still happen. Drivers need to understand the appropriate steps and procedures should an accident occur in order to protect themselves both financially and legally. Below are a few steps that should always be followed: •Do not leave the scene! Following an accident, stop your vehicle in a safe space as near as possible to the spot of the accident. Running from the scene can result in serious consequences, regardless of who is at fault. You should contact police or other emergency services as necessary.•Exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses. Relevant information includes name, address, phone number, license plate number, drivers license number, and insurance details.•Reporting the accident to the DMV within 15 days is necessary if there is not a police report filed on scene, and the accident causes injury, death, or more than $1,000 in damages. The form can be found online, and you should always keep a copy for personal records. All of this can be challenging and stressful. Most of us drive every day, and staying safe and informed on the roads is very important. In the case of an accident, particularly one resulting in injury or serious damages, you should contact an attorney.