For people in California and across the country, fatal risks could come from unexpected places. The leading cause of death for Americans age 44 and under is accidental injury. In 2016 alone, 61,749 people were killed in unintentional incidents, a figure almost twice that of the combined death toll of heart disease and cancer. While there are a number of everyday dangers that can prove deadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that motor vehicle accidents and unintentional poisoning were the most common causes of death.

People can take action to help improve their roadway safety and their chances of survival in case of a car crash. Every year, over 32,000 people lose their lives in collisions, and another 2 million people are injured, often seriously. Safety technologies like seat belts and proper child car seats can help save lives. In addition, avoiding negligent or dangerous driving behavior is critical to preventing accidents. Distracted driving is one major threat on American roadways today; texting while driving draws a driver’s hands away from the wheel, eyes away from the road and mind away from the drive.

Cyclists also face serious safety risks on the road. In 2016, 840 bicyclists lost their lives due to motor vehicle collisions. While cyclists can’t prevent car owners from driving dangerously, they are able to protect themselves by ensuring that their bikes are in good working order and have proper visibility equipment like lights and reflective gear.

Car accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. When people are hurt in a crash due to someone else’s negligent driving, they might work with a personal injury lawyer. An attorney may help accident victims seek compensation for their damages, including lost wages and current and future medical bills.