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Car Accidents: The Most Common Causes

There are over 6 million car accidents in the United States every year. Although some of these are minor car accidents, they still can cause significant physical, psychological, and financial trauma to those involved. Therefore, to hopefully prevent car accidents, drivers need to be aware of the most common causes to help them take preventative measures to avoid car accidents. The most common causes of car accidents in the United States can either be caused by driver error or those unrelated to human error.

Car Accidents Caused by Driver Error

The most common car accidents are caused by driver error. These errors can include, but are not limited to:

The Driver is Distracted

Drivers are expected to focus their full attention on the road while driving. However, distractions while driving can occur at any time and could be minor such as the radio, a crying child in the backseat, other passengers talking, or even listening to the GPS for directions. These distractions are often socially acceptable but could easily distract a driver, leading to an accident. 

The Driver is Drunk or Under the Influence

Driving while drunk or under the influence dramatically impairs the driver’s ability to respond to the road conditions, to other drivers or pedestrians, and their competency to operate a vehicle and could very likely lead to a car accident. Given the severe impairment to a driver’s ability to drive while drunk or under the influence, driving under these conditions is illegal and criminally punishable by law.

The Driver is Driving Aggressively and Recklessly

Generally, driving aggressively or recklessly violates traffic laws and significantly puts drivers in danger. Although some aggressive driving may not be illegal, such as changing lanes too quickly even if they place on their car signals, they could also cause an accident.

Some forms of driving aggressively or recklessly that violate traffic laws may include but are not limited to:

  • Failing to follow the right of way.
  • Not stopping or following traffic signs or lights.
  • Driving too close to another car.

The Driver is Suffering from Health Issues

A driver suffering from health issues such as heart attack, panic attack, or similar medical conditions can cause them to lose control of their car, leading to a severe car accident.

The Driver is Fatigued

Fatigue is another factor that can affect a driver’s inability to be in control of their vehicle and aware of their driving conditions.

A driver suffering from fatigue is also a serious threat to road conditions. Fatigue can cause sleepiness, drowsiness, or exhaustion, impairing the driver’s ability to drive and react to road conditions.

Note that certain medications can also cause fatigue or drowsiness, so it is vital to check the side effects of any medicine before operating a vehicle to assess if the driver feels fit to drive.

Auto Accidents Caused by Other Factors (Not Human Error)

Some of the common causes of car accidents that can be attributed to other factors outside of the driver’s control or error include:

Weather Conditions

Rough weather conditions are expected to cause severe effects on road conditions that are likely to cause accidents. However, even slight weather changes can also cause harsh road conditions that could adversely affect driving conditions.

Road Conditions

Other than those directly affected by weather conditions, road conditions such as potholes, uneven roads, trash on the route, or road constructions can cause challenging driving conditions that can cause accidents.

Moreover, technical issues with traffic lights, inadequate road lighting, and poorly-maintained road signs can also lead to car accidents.

Vehicle Defects

Although many technologically-advanced cars are on the road today, they are not necessarily fool-proof ways to avoid car accidents. After all, car defects in advanced technology vehicles can still occur since a car is composed of numerous parts that must coordinate to effectively and safely drive a vehicle. A single fault in one of these parts can lead to a car malfunction and cause a car accident.

Therefore, it is vital to be up to date with car maintenance to keep the vehicle in possibly the best driving condition and be aware of manufacturer recalls, if any. Although car defects can occur without notice, being on top of the vehicle’s state is a great preventative measure to avoid a car accident.

Car accidents typically happen instantly and could be caused by many factors that may or may not be within the driver’s control. Therefore, it is crucial to drive defensively, keep your vehicle in its best driving condition, and be aware of the weather and road conditions to avoid car accidents in the first place.

Do You Need A Car Accident Lawyer?

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, it may be wise to seek help from a car accident lawyer. If you’ve been injured and are suffering from a car accident, it’s possible to pursue compensation for your personal injury.

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Sources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 28). Transportation Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/
  • AA Insurance. The AA. Common causes of car road accidents | AA Insurance. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.theaa.com/car-insurance/advice/road-accident-car-damage