Getting into an automobile accident can be scary and stressful, and having to deal with the aftermath of the crash can add to your stress emotionally and financially.
Below, we will discuss the common causes of car accidents. In understanding what can lead to a collision, drivers can be more cautious as they are aware of the specific dangers and risks.
Common Causes of Automobile Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 23,824 occupants in passenger vehicles died in crashes in 2020, which is the highest this statistic has been in years. Data also suggests that over 1.2 million passenger car occupants were injured in accidents in 2020. What is causing these car crashes?
The most common causes of car accidents include:
- Drowsy driving. If a driver is tired after a long workday, hours of driving on a road trip, or taking medication, they may fall asleep at the wheel or have a slower reaction time, which can lead to an accident. Driving drowsy can also affect a driver’s ability to concentrate and sight.
- Speeding. Because speeding impacts drivers’ reaction times, they are unable to stop and avoid colliding with other cars when needed.
- Distracted driving. When a driver does not fully pay attention to the road, other vehicles, or driving, they risk being involved in an accident. Whether they rear-end another car because they were texting while driving or T-bone a car in an intersection because they were distracted by a passenger, distracted drivers cause many serious (and fatal) accidents.
- Driving under the influence. The NHTSA reported that 23% of accidents involved an impaired driver. Despite the known dangers of drunk driving, many drivers still try to drive while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Even if you have only had a few drinks and have a low blood alcohol content (BAC) level, your reaction time, inhibitions, and coordination can be negatively affected. High BAC levels can also cause blurred vision and blackouts. Regardless of how high or low a driver’s BAC is, driving drunk leads to accidents.
- Improper vehicle maintenance. If a vehicle is not maintained, a tire blowout, bad brakes, or vehicle maintenance issues can lead to an accident occurring.
- Reckless driving. When drivers are in a rush or affected by road rage, they may weave in and out of traffic, cut people off, tailgate, or engage in other forms of reckless driving. These behaviors and actions can lead to an accident.
- Inclement weather. Dangerous weather conditions can affect drivers’ ability to control their vehicles and impact visibility. Drivers may get into an accident after hydroplaning, failing to see another vehicle, or not preparing for the weather conditions.
- Ignoring traffic signals or signs. Drivers can cause accidents when they run through stop signs or red lights.
- Nighttime driving hazards. At night, drivers may get into an accident involving an animal or another vehicle if they do not take precautions (like using their headlights, driving slowly in animal crossing zones, etc.).
- Unsafe lane changes. When drivers pass another car or truck, they should make sure they pass the vehicle and have enough room to get in front of the other car. However, drivers often cut off others on the road, which can lead to an accident if there isn’t enough clearance and the other car rear-ends the passing vehicle.
- One-way streets. When cars drive the wrong way getting on or off the highway ramps or on one-way streets, they are at risk of getting into an accident. Because drivers are often surprised that they are going the wrong way or that a car is driving towards them, they may not react in time to avoid a collision or may swerve or overcorrect, which can also cause an accident.
Driving Safety Tips
While not all car accidents are avoidable, some are. Here are xx driving safety tips that can help you stay safe while on the road.
- Eliminate distractions. Drivers can be distracted by their phones, passengers, grooming activities, eating, or any activity that they engage in while driving. Multitasking isn’t ever a good idea when you are driving, and you should dedicate 100% of your attention to driving.
- Adhere to the speed limit. If you notice yourself speeding, slow down. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react when driving.
- Take breaks. If you have a long ride ahead or feel tired at any time, pull over and take a break. You can also switch drivers if multiple drivers are traveling together.
- Be mindful of the side effects of medications. During the spring and summer, drivers may take allergy pills that can cause drowsiness. At any time, you may start taking a new medication to treat an illness or condition. In either case, you should review the side effects of the medication and pay attention to how you respond to it before getting behind the wheel.
- Don’t drink and drive. If you plan to drink at a celebration or outing with friends, plan ahead by having a designed driver or scheduling a car service (like Uber or Lyft).
- Obey traffic lights and signs. As we mentioned, running a red light is dangerous and can cause an accident. Instead of trying to make it through a light, slow down when the lights turn yellow and stop if the light is red. You should also pay attention and adhere to stop and yield signs.
- Schedule routine and needed vehicle maintenance. If you notice an issue with your vehicle or the time for routine maintenance (i.e. tire rotation or replacement, oil change, engine check, etc.) comes around, you should take your car to the shop as soon as possible.
- Give reckless drivers space. If you notice some engaging in reckless driving practices, you should leave more room between your vehicle and theirs. While you cannot control their action or driving, you can put distance between you and drive defensively.
- Drive defensively. Even if there are no reckless drivers on the road, you should drive defensively by staying aware of what other drivers are doing and leaving space between you and the car in front of you.
- Check the weather. Before going on a trip or driving anywhere, you should make yourself aware of the weather conditions.
- Wear your seatbelt. Wearing your seatbelt could save your life. However, according to the NHTSA, in 2021, only 90.4% of vehicle occupants used their seatbelts.
Comprehensive Legal Services for Car Accident Victims
After being involved in a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed by the resulting expenses and/or by the rehabilitation required to address your injuries. If you or a loved one are involved in an accident, regardless of fault, you should reach out to our attorneys.
At Hubbs Law Firm, our attorneys have nearly 30 years of combined experience, and we are equipped to help you:
- Determine whether you have a personal injury case
- Establish liability
- Calculate the damages
- Make an informed decision concerning the best legal course of action
Once you retain us, our team can handle the case legalities allowing you the time and space you need to heal and reducing the amount of stress you may be under. To learn more about how we can help, schedule a case consultation with our team today. Call (305) 376-7178 or complete this online form.