Brian White | January 16, 2023 | Car Accidents
Texas provides detailed information about the causes of car accidents. These reports reveal some interesting insights into Texas crashes.
Car accidents in Texas tend to result from a very small set of circumstances. And while road, light, and weather conditions play a role in collisions, most crashes result from preventable driver behaviors.
Causes of Car Accidents in Texas
Houston had 66,988 total crashes in 2021. These crashes included 312 fatal crashes and 20,513 injury crashes.
Texas does not release statistics about crash causes for Houston. But it does release statewide crash information. Based on these numbers, the 12 most common causes of car accidents in Texas include:
Speeding causes more accidents than any other cause by a large margin. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) statistics, speeding causes more accidents than the next two most common causes combined.
Speeding includes exceeding the speed limit and driving too fast for current road conditions. Transportation officials set speed limits based on the locations and designs of the roads. Under certain weather, road, or traffic conditions, you might need to travel slower than the speed limit.
Speeding also reduces the time you have to make evasive maneuvers. It increases the severity of injuries, as well.
2. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving caused nearly 99,000 crashes in 2021. According to the CDC’s definition, distracted driving includes:
- Visual distractions that take your eyes off the road
- Manual distractions that occupy your hands
- Mental distractions that divert your attention
Distractions prevent you from reacting to traffic or road hazards. Even at moderate speeds, your car can travel a hundred feet or more during a brief distraction.
Some common examples of distractions include:
- Eating or drinking
- Reading electronic devices
- Watching videos
- Adjusting the audio system
- Talking to passengers
While it may seem inconvenient, pulling over or waiting until you stop instead of trying to multitask could save you from a traffic accident.
3. Unsafe Lane Changes
Careless drivers often fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes. Lazy drivers only check their mirrors. In either case, an unsafe lane change can lead to a sideswipe accident.
4. Lane Drift
Lane drift happens for many reasons, including:
- Poor directional control
- Faded lane markings
- Poor visibility
Lane drift often affects young drivers and senior drivers. Inexperienced drivers have not practiced the skills needed to maintain control over their vehicles. Senior drivers often suffer from a variety of ailments that reduce their ability to control their vehicles, such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Arthritis and poor grip strength
- Visual impairments
- Slowed reactions
- Prescription drug use
Vehicles can drift out of their lanes into oncoming traffic. The resulting head-on collisions are often fatal. According to the National Safety Council, only 3% of crashes involve a head-on collision, but they produce nearly 27% of crash fatalities.
5. Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
Running red lights and stop signs are surefire ways to cause a car accident. When you run a traffic control device, you disrupt everyone’s expectations and force them to avoid you. In many cases, they do not have time to stop or swerve to avoid a collision.
6. Failing to Yield the Right of Way
Failing to yield the right of way is similar to running a red light or stop sign. But when you fail to yield the right of way, you proceed into traffic out of turn rather than ignoring a traffic control device.
Examples of failing to yield the right of way include:
- Making a left turn before a gap opens in the oncoming traffic
- Proceeding through an intersection before your turn
- Exiting a parking lot or driveway before cross-traffic clears
Failing to yield the right of way often results in a side-impact collision, also called a T-bone collision. These crashes can cause serious injuries, particularly when a car impacts the driver-side door of the other vehicle.
7. Faulty Evasive Action
You may remember from your driver’s education course that you should always leave room on the road for an escape path. Faulty evasive action happens when you swerve or slam on your brakes to avoid a collision but end up causing one.
Suppose that a driver began moving into your lane and you swerved to avoid them. You successfully avoided the vehicle making the lane change, but you struck a different vehicle while doing so. You caused the collision through faulty evasive action.
Many drivers have a habit of following other vehicles too closely. Tailgating cuts the time you have to avoid a collision if the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly. The responsibility for maintaining a safe following distance almost always falls on the trailing driver. When a rear-end crash happens, the trailing driver almost always gets blamed.
9. Intoxicated Driving
Intoxicated driving includes driving while over the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) and driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Intoxicating substances can:
- Impair your decision making
- Slow down your reflexes
- Cause you to misjudge the speed or distance of other vehicles
- Make you drowsy
These problems can arise after consuming alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs.
10. Drowsy Driving
Driving while fatigued can happen to anyone. But it most often affects:
- Truck drivers
- Workers with late shifts
- Intoxicated drivers
Fatigue can cause you to lose focus on driving or even doze off, leading you to lose control of your vehicle.
11. Unsafe Turning
You probably see examples of unsafe turning every time you drive. Drivers commit an improper turn when they make a turn:
- Too wide
- Too sharp
- From the wrong lane
- Without waiting for a gap in traffic
These accidents can lead to collisions with pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, or other motorists.
12. Unsafe Backing
When backing out of a private drive or a parking space, some drivers fail to watch carefully. A common mistake is to rely on mirrors rather than turning and looking. As a result, these drivers can back into other vehicles, cross-traffic, pedestrians, or cyclists.
Drive Safely in Texas To Avoid Causing an Accident
Fortunately, most of these driving behaviors are avoidable. Driving carefully can help you avoid causing an accident.
If you do find yourself involved in a car crash that was caused by someone else and are wondering what your options are, consider reaching out to an attorney. Most car accident lawyers in the area offer free consultations to go over your situation and provide legal advice.
Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
For more information, contact the Houston car accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
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