Top 25 Causes of Car Accidents and What You Can Do to Prevent Them
Brian White | October 28, 2020 | Auto Accidents
Thousands of motor vehicle accidents occur in Texas each year. You might not be able to avoid all car accidents. However, knowing the top 25 causes of car accidents and how to prevent them can help you decrease your chance of being involved in a tragic car crash.
What are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents?
Motor vehicle accidents occur for numerous reasons. Several factors could combine to lead to a traffic accident. One or more parties could be responsible for the cause of a car crash.
Leading causes of car accidents throughout Texas include:
Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents in Texas and throughout the United States. Fortunately, avoiding a speeding accident is easy. Always obey the posted speed limit. Slow down when driving conditions change, such as congested traffic, poor weather conditions, or hazardous road conditions.
2. Distracted Driving
Distractions also continue to be a leading cause of traffic accidents each year. Distracted driving involves a driver focusing on something other than driving and the road. Texting while driving and cell phone use are leading causes of distracted driving accidents.
However, any distraction can lead to a deadly car crash. Examples of distractions that can lead to an accident include eating, drinking, grooming, reaching for objects, taking care of passengers, and daydreaming. You can avoid a distracted driving accident by keeping your focus solely on driving.
3. Alcohol and Drugs
Impaired driving is also a top cause of car accidents. Drivers who get behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs have an increased risk of causing a car accident.
Drunk driving accidents can be avoided by never driving under the influence. You can take a taxi, call for a rideshare, or arrange for a designated driver. If necessary, arrange to stay overnight at a friend’s house or a hotel if you attend a gathering involving alcohol.
4. Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is another top cause of car accidents. Reckless driving involves any behavior that places you and others on the road in danger. It is an intentional decision to engage in risky driving behaviors and maneuvers.
Examples of reckless driving include cutting off other drivers, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, and excess speed. You can avoid reckless driving by following all traffic laws and practicing good driving behaviors.
5. Following Too Closely
Following too closely or tailgating increases your risk of being involved in a car accident. You are responsible for following at a distance that allows you to stop in time to avoid a crash, even if the driver in front of you slams on breaks for no reason.
At a minimum, there should be at least three to five car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you. However, if you are driving in congested traffic or poor weather conditions, you should adjust the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to allow for extra stopping distance.
6. Improper Turns
U-turns, failing to yield the right of way, and other improper turns are common causes of automobile accidents. Always check to ensure that traffic is clear, and you have sufficient time to negotiate a turn without causing a collision. Obey all traffic signs that prohibit U-turns and turning right on red.
7. Running Red Lights and Stop Signs
You might be in a hurry to get somewhere, but running red lights and stop signs to get to your location is not worth your life. Some people run stop signs and red lights because they are distracted. You can avoid this common cause of traffic accidents by remaining attentive when driving and stopping for yellow lights instead of trying to “beat the light.”
8. Road Defects and Hazards
Road defects and hazards include potholes, defectively designed roads, missing signs, improperly maintained roads, and road debris. A government entity could be liable for crashes involving road defects. You can reduce your risk of crashes caused by road hazards and defects by obeying the speed limit and keeping your focus on the road ahead.
9. Vehicle Defects
Defective automobile parts cause some traffic accidents. You might not be able to avoid these accidents if you are unaware of the defect. If a vehicle defect causes an accident, the automobile manufacturer could be liable for damages.
You can reduce the risk of an accident caused by vehicle defects by having your vehicle inspected and maintained regularly. If you receive a recall notice, contact your car dealer or repair shop immediately. You can check for vehicle recalls online.
10. Poor Weather Conditions
Poor weather conditions are another common cause of traffic accidents. The best way to avoid accidents caused by weather conditions is to avoid driving in adverse weather conditions. If you must drive in poor weather conditions, driver slower and stay focused on the road.
11. Inexperienced Drivers
Teen drivers do not have the experience to handle adverse driving conditions. They are also easily distracted by passengers in the vehicle and might participate in risky driving behaviors. Parents can help reduce the risk of a teen driving accident by restricting their teenager’s driving privileges and enforcing rules for teen drivers.
12. Senior Drivers
Senior drivers also have a higher risk of being involved in an automobile accident. As we age, our ability to focus and concentrate diminishes. We also lose some of our balance and coordination, which can adversely impact our driving ability.
Family members should watch for signs that a senior driver is having trouble behind the wheel. You might need to take the keys away from a loved one to keep them from causing a car accident.
13. Wrong-Way Driving
Wrong-way driving can cause a head-on crash. Head-on crashes have a high risk of life-threatening and catastrophic injuries. These types of accidents are often caused by intoxicated and distracted driving.
However, improper or missing road signs could also be the cause of wrong-way driving. If an accident occurs, a government entity could be partially responsible for the damages.
14. Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
Road rage and aggressive driving have become serious problems in the United States. Drivers engage in aggressive driving behaviors, such as cutting off drivers, tailgating, speeding, and weaving in and out of traffic.
In some cases, a driver will “chase” another driver and engage in a physical altercation when the driver stops. Other drivers use “hand gestures” and yell at other drivers. The best way to avoid an accident is to get out of the way and let the driver pass.
15. Fatigued Drivers
Some individuals are at a higher risk for fatigued driving accidents. Teenagers, truck drivers, shift workers, and people with sleep disorders are at a higher risk of being involved in a drowsy driving accident. Certain medications can also increase your risk of being involved in a fatigued driving accident.
16. Animal Crossings
An animal can dart across the road without warning. Drivers often instinctively swerve or slam on the brakes to miss the animal. Striking the animal can cause a car accident too, depending on the size of the animal.
Remaining alert and watching the road can reduce the risk of animal crossing accidents. Maintaining a safe speed can also help.
17. Driving at Night
Visibility is lower at night than it is during the day. Headlights help, but they are not as bright as the sun. When driving at night, slow down and keep a close eye on the road to avoid a nighttime driving accident.
18. Children and Pets
Children and pets in the vehicle create distractions that can increase the risk of a car accident. You can reduce the risk of an accident by ensuring your pets and children are secured in a safety device before leaving. If you need to care for your pet or child while driving, pull over to a safe location.
19. Construction and Road Work
Construction and work zones are dangerous for workers and drivers. Always slow down and watch for workers in these areas. Also, look for road debris that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle if you run over the debris.
20. Dangerous Curves
Speeding through curves significantly increases your risk for an accident. Always slow down and obey the posted speed limit when driving around a curve. There could be an approaching vehicle that crosses into your lane, a hidden driveway, or traffic around the curve that could cause a crash.
21. Street Racing
Street racing is an extremely dangerous activity. If you witness a street racing event, leave the area immediately and call 911 to report the street racing to law enforcement agencies.
22. Improper Merging and Lane Changes
Improper merging and lane changes are another common cause of accidents. Drivers who are in a hurry often cut off other drivers causing sideswipe accidents or side-impact accidents. You should always check your blind spots carefully and ensure you have sufficient room before changing lanes or merging into traffic.
23. Tire Blowouts
Tire blowouts can be caused by defective tires or road debris. There is no way to predict a tire blowout. However, inspecting your tires regularly and replacing worn tires can reduce the risk of a tire blowout accident.
24. Low Visibility
Low visibility can occur for several reasons. Fog and rain can reduce visibility while driving. Burned out headlights or headlights that are improperly positioned reduce a driver’s ability to see.
Always use your low beams in fog and rain. Make sure that your headlights work correctly and replace burned-out headlights immediately.
25. Failing to Obey Traffic Laws
Traffic laws are designed to reduce the risk of traffic accidents. Obeying traffic laws can prevent traffic tickets, but it can also prevent you from causing a terrible accident that results in a fatality or severe injury.
If you are involved in a car accident, contact a car accident lawyer. Learn about your legal rights and your options for recovering compensation for your damages before talking to an insurance adjuster.