7 Most Common Causes for Car Accidents on U.S. Roadways

Car Accident

Car Accident

As a driver on the road, keeping yourself and others safe always needs to be your top priority. In most cases, negligence and liability in intersection crash cases are the two deciding factors that determine who is responsible for paying for the damages that occurred. By learning the common causes for car accidents in the United States, a person can learn how to avoid being held responsible and potentially liable for payment.  

How Common Are Car Accidents? 

On an average basis, thirteen car crashes occur every second with tens of thousands of fatalities occurring on a yearly basis. While it’s not a pleasant thought, car crashes are extremely common and happen quite often. While you never expect to get into a car accident, it’s always important to know how to respond when one occurs.  

7 Common Causes for Wrecks 

By learning what the most common causes for a car accident are, you can learn to spot that a car accident may be about to occur before other drivers. This can allow you to take preventative action to avoid a crash: 

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol 

No driver should ever be behind the wheel when they are intoxicated by alcohol or another type of drug. This can lead to erratic driving, slower reaction times, and poorer decision making while out on the road that can lead to an accident. Should you ever see a person you believe is driving under the influence, note down as much of their license plate as you can and call the authorities when it is safe to do so.   

Driving when weather conditions are poor 

Poor weather conditions are another leading cause of car accidents. Heavy snowfall, torrential rain, and even extreme heat can all lead to breakdowns or mistakes while driving that lead to an accident. Unless you grew up in an area with poor weather and are familiar with driving in bad conditions, you should avoid driving on the road at all costs. 

Vehicle breakdowns while on the road 

Drivers who don’t handle preventative maintenance on their vehicle are at a higher risk for experiencing a breakdown while out on the road. While it’s not guaranteed that a lack of preventative maintenance will cause a breakdown, accidents can occur if those breakdowns do happen.   

Speeding or reckless driving 

On average, speeding contributes to around 1/3rd of all car accidents that occur. When driving at higher speeds, car accidents are more likely to be fatal as well. To avoid a car accident from occurring, stay within the confines of a speed limit. If you see a driver approaching rapidly from the rear, avoid any sudden lane changes and let them pass you. 

Reckless driving is equally as dangerous out on the road and occurs when a person blatantly ignores traffic rules. This can quickly lead to an accident, so it’s important to always keep your wits about you when driving.  

Distractions while driving 

Distracted driving is a major cause for car accidents, which is why it’s important to remove any distractions from a car before you take off. Whether it’s talking on the phone, texting, or even spilling food and trying to clean it up, driving without your eyes fully focused on the road can quickly become deadly.   

Hazards appearing in the road 

While you can’t always control when things appear in the road, you can control how you react to them. Seeing smaller items in your lane may cause you to want to take evasive action, but it’s best to just continue driving in a straight line so long as you won’t damage your vehicle. If there is a large road hazard that poses a danger to your vehicle, however, taking evasive action may be necessary. Do your best to avoid swerving into lanes with vehicle if at all possible. 

Driver error  

Finally, driver error is another leading cause of car accidents on the road. This refers to simple mistakes that a cognizant driver makes while out on the road which lead to an accident. People are not perfect, which means that anybody can make a mistake. When this occurs, it can lead to a car accident that results in injuries. While there isn’t a way to prevent driver error, focus on being aware of all other drivers and leaving plenty of distance between you and them.  

Tips for Avoiding a Car Accident 

In some cases, understanding the common causes for a car accident is not enough to actually prevent an accident from occurring. In this situation, learning how to avoid an accident in its entirety is the best course of action. Fortunately, there are a number of tips anyone can use to keep themselves safe on the road:  

  • Scan at least 12 seconds ahead of your vehicle to spot traffic, hazards, or other issues in the road before they reach you 
  • Always leave at least 3 seconds of space between yourself and the vehicles in front of you 
  • Limit all distractions that exist inside of your vehicle, ranging from phones to passengers 
  • Handle all music selections, GPS guidance, or other issues that involve using your phone prior to hitting the open road 
  • Never drive in weather you are unfamiliar driving in 
  • Drive strategically and defensively, as opposed to offensively  
  • Drive with your hands in the proper position on the wheel 
  • Limit the amount of driving you perform at night when you could be drowsy 

While the above tips don’t guarantee that you won’t experience at a car accident at some point in your life, they greatly reduce the odds of one happening.  

Keep yourself protected on the road 

Every time you get behind the wheel of a car, you should be focused on how to avoid causing a car accident so that you don’t get enjoyed or held liable for damages. By keeping an eye out for the signs of some of the above causes for car accidents, along with remembering tips for avoiding an accident, you can stay safe while out on the open road.