The Most Common Causes of Rental Car Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Rental cars are a convenient way to get around when you fly into an area or are without your own transportation. They allow drivers to explore the countryside or travel around new cities. They can also be helpful following an accident or car trouble so you can continue commuting and carry on with your everyday life if your vehicle is being repaired.

Renting a car is a responsibility, and you must focus on safe driving and avoiding accidents, just as you would in your own vehicle. Rental car accidents can be expensive and a stressful headache to all involved. They are time-consuming and often preventable if a few cautious behaviors are followed.

Common Causes of Rental Car Accidents

As with driving any car, some of the same reasons for accidents may apply. Here are a few of the more common causes of rental car accidents.

Distracted Driving

Modern-day drivers have many distractions pulling at their attention. Telephone notifications, the meal picked up from a drive-thru and eaten on the way to the next stop, talking to passengers, or taking care of children from the driver’s seat.

All are distractions that make it difficult for a vehicle operator to focus on the task. It only takes a brief period of inattentiveness to increase your risk of being involved in an accident.

Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

  • Put your phone on “do not disturb.”  If you need to check your phone, pull over to do so.
  • When using the maps feature on your telephone to help you navigate, it is safest to set it to the hands-free setting. If you need to double-check directions, pull to a safe location to look at your phone.
  • Don’t eat or drink while driving. Take a few minutes to pull over until your meal or snack is done.
  • Keep your eyes on the road. Avoid focusing on the things inside your car, and pay attention to your driving.

Exceeding the Speed Limit

Ignoring the speed limit is another common cause of car accidents in rental vehicles. When you exceed the speed limit, the time to react if an unexpected situation presents itself is decreased. If you need to make a sudden stop, such as for a pedestrian, or someone turning in front of you at an intersection, you may not have time to stop.

This can lead to severe injuries and even fatalities. The faster the cars involved in an accident are traveling, the greater the likelihood of the accident causing severe damage.

Ways to Prevent Speeding

It is important to keep your speed in check, whether traveling in a rental car or your vehicle. Here are some ways to make sure you are driving the speed limit:

  • Pay attention to the posted speed limit signs. Take into account the weather conditions, and slow down further if necessary.
  • Leave extra time to get where you are going so you are not pressured to speed to get there on time.
  • Give the car in front of you plenty of room to stop or to turn when they need to without you crashing into its tailgate.
  • Pay attention to the road and the speed at which you travel.

Failure to Yield

Another common cause of rental car wrecks is failure to yield. This often occurs at intersections. When the driver fails to give the right of way to the other drivers, cyclists, walkers, or motorcyclists, there is an advanced risk of a collision.

Preventing Failure to Yield Accidents

There are some ways to prevent failure to yield accidents. Listed below are a few:

  • Make a practice of yielding the right of way to other motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists as the traffic laws dictate.
  • Pay attention to the rules of the road and its signs and signals. Make a habit of obeying them.
  • Look both ways for oncoming traffic or pedestrians before turning or entering an intersection.
  • Merging onto the highway in an unfamiliar vehicle can be daunting if you on an unfamiliar road and are not sure where your blindspots are. It is important to familiarize yourself with the vehicle before taking off.

Driving While Impaired

The Most Common Causes of Rental Car Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Many auto accidents are the result of someone getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or using drugs, legal or illegal, that have affected their ability to react quickly and to focus. Delayed reaction time, poor judgment, and decreased hand-eye coordination all boost the threat of a wreck.

Preventing Impaired Driving

Impaired driving accidents are 100% preventable. Drivers can do a number of things to ensure they avoid drinking and driving. They are as follows:

  • Never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking or using drugs.
  • Plan ahead for a designated driver or to use public transportation if you will be having drinks.
  • Carefully read the labels of medications you may be taking to ensure they will not impair your ability to drive.

Inexperienced Drivers

Driving regularly hones the skill. Those who are just beginning to drive or unfamiliar with driving in different conditions or terrain can cause accidents. Split-second decisions must be made at the drop of a hat, and if the driver has not had much experience, they may need help with stopping or avoiding obstacles that present themselves.

Rental car travel puts the inexperienced driver at increased risk since the vehicle is unfamiliar with the city or the terrain. This can cause them to misjudge when to start braking, make poor decision-making, or overlook potential hazards.

Avoiding Inexperienced Driver Accidents

Here are a few tips that can help an inexperienced driver avoid automobile accidents:

  • Get familiar with the rental car before leaving the parking lot. Ensure you understand how to turn on the lights, windshield wipers, and other options. You can become distracted fiddling with controls if you do not know what they do.
  • Look closely at the route your GPS suggests before you begin the drive. This will help you to not get lost and will reduce the urgency of fast lane changes or turning off without fair warning.
  • Anticipate obstacles and hazards along the way and pay attention.
  • Even if you are pressed for time, it is better to get there late than to be in an accident.

Poor Weather Conditions

When you fly into an area with unfamiliar weather, it can create some driving challenges that can increase the risk of rental car collisions. For instance, if you are from a dry, arid climate and fly into one with snow and ice, it can be difficult to manage the strange conditions. Difficulty on the roads can be due to various weather conditions, some of these are listed below:

  • Rainy wet conditions can lead to hydroplaning.
  • Fog and snow can decrease visibility, making it hard to see other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Icy conditions can be slippery to drive upon

Preventing Weather-Related Accidents

Some precautions should be taken to reduce the likelihood of having a weather-related accident. Here are a few tips that we suggest:

  • Slow down
  • Give the vehicle in front of you plenty of room, especially if the conditions are wet or slippery.
  • Use your headlights on low beams when visibility is a challenge
  • Employ your windshield wipers and use the defrost setting to maintain a clear windshield
  • Avoid driving in severe weather, even if you are familiar with driving in those conditions.

Vehicle Malfunctions

Rental cars have come a lot way, and the maintenance by their providers is usually pretty solid. But, because they often turn over so quickly, things may be overlooked. This could include the following:

  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Steering
  • Headlights
  • Tail or brake lights

If there is a problem with the rental car, contact your rental car company and ask them to repair or replace the car.

Preventing Vehicle Malfunction Accidents

There are a few precautions everyone should take when renting a car. The following details can help you to avoid a car accident:

  • Inspect the rental car for signs of damage or for operational errors before leaving the rental car lot.
  • If the car behaves improperly, pull over to a safe spot and call the car rental company. You may need to return the car, but it is best to wait for their instructions.

Staying Safe in a Rental Car

To avoid costly, stressful, and inconvenient rental car accidents, follow the tips outlined earlier. Understanding the causes of car accidents can help you to have a safer driving experience. Always practice defensive driving, take measures to obey traffic laws, and operate the rental vehicle safely. If you do have a problem with your rental car, contact the rental car company and discuss the issue with them immediately.

Most of all, be safe and take the appropriate safety measures to enjoy your time in the rental vehicle.