Traffic accidents are among the top causes of deaths in the US every year, with approximately 40,000 people killed annually. With millions of drivers on our roads every day, Americans should be aware of the most dangerous traffic accident causes. With this knowledge in hand, it is possible for many accidents to be avoided and for lives to be saved.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident, be sure to use Lawsuit Info Center’s attorney finder to locate a qualified personal injury attorney in your state.
Cause 1 – Reckless Driving and Speeding
There is no question about it: Speed kills. The faster and more recklessly you drive, the higher the chances of an accident. Driving faster means that you have less time to react in an emergency and can lead to serious accidents with injuries and deaths.
Speeding and driving recklessly can apply even if you are actually driving the posted speed limit but are doing so during inclement weather. So, be certain to always slow down if driving conditions are less than ideal.
Cause 2 – Distracted Driving
More and more accidents are being caused today due to cell phone use while driving. Whether you are talking or texting on a cell phone, you should never do so while driving. All states now have some form of no texting and driving laws. Remember that even if you only look away from the road for two seconds, you may travel 100 feet or more depending upon your speed. That is more than enough time for a very serious accident.
While cell phone use behind the wheel is the most frequent cause of distracted driving accidents, there are other causes as well. People often attempt to engage in other activities while driving that distract them from the road. These include smoking, eating, listening to the radio, drinking and talking to passengers.
Cause 3 – Driver Fatigue
Drivers often want to continue driving far beyond when they should, and this can lead to falling asleep behind the wheel. Did you know that 3% of all road deaths in the US and 100k crashes each year are due to driver fatigue? It is always a bad idea to continue to drive when you are tired. Even stopping the car for a few minutes and taking a brief walk can help you to stay awake. But the best remedy is to get a full night’s sleep before you continue on your journey.
Cause 4 – Drinking and Driving
It is well known that drinking and driving is a major cause of traffic accidents every year, with more than 10,000 killed by drunk drivers every year. DUI is against the law in every state, and penalties for causing accidents, injuries and deaths while driving drunk continue to get harsher.
Remember that in addition to criminal penalties for causing injuries and deaths while drunk, you also can be sued in civil court. So, never get behind the wheel when you are intoxicated. Even if you are under the legal limit, you still can be charged with drunk driving if the police officer thinks that your drinking led to the accident.
Cause 5 – Rubbernecking
Many people get distracted by accidents on the side of the road. You should always keep your eyes on the road when your vehicle is in motion. Also, people may be distracted by scenic views, road signs or other things that distract them from their driving.
Cause 6 – Defective Auto Parts
Not every traffic accident is caused by driver error. Every year, thousands of traffic accidents are caused by defective motor vehicles or parts. Improper manufacture of auto or truck parts, or poor installation, can lead to many serious car accidents. If you suspect that a car accident that you were involved in was caused by a defective vehicle or part, you should talk to a product liability attorney right away in your state.
Cause 7 – Road Defects
Sometimes the city or state or even federal government that maintains the roads can do something that makes the road dangerous to drive on. Whether it is bad paving, inadequate signage or road design, any of these can cause traffic accidents, injury or death. It is possible to hold a state, federal or local government agency liable for damages due to a car accident caused by road defects.
Cause 8 – Weather
Many traffic accidents are caused by drivers going too fast for conditions in bad weather. Poor weather conditions such as snow, ice, rain or fog mean all drivers need to slow down. If weather is poor enough so that visibility or the ability to stop is seriously compromised, it may be necessary to pull over until the weather improves. Always remember to slow down when the weather is less than ideal when you are driving.
Cause 9 – Construction Zone Factors
Local and state road crews do their best to keep road construction zones safe and navigable for drivers. But if a construction zone is not marked or maintained properly, serious traffic accidents can happen. Also, traffic accidents in construction zones are often caused by speeding drivers.
Also, below are the most common car accidents:
- Rear end crashes: This type of accident happens when one car hits the car in front of it. The NHTSA reports that rear end crashes account for 30% of all car accidents. The NHTSA has found that drivers in rear end crashes were often involved in activities that took their attention from their driving.
- Hydroplaning: When you drive your car through standing water, your tires need to push the water away to maintain contact with the road surface. If you are driving too fast or your tires are too worn, your tires could lose contact with the road and cause an accident.
- Animal collision: A collision with an animal at high speed can cause a very serious accident. Take caution any time you see an animal crossing sign on the road.
- Side impact crashes: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found in 2009 that side impact crashes accounted for 28% of car accident deaths in the US. These accidents include T bone crashes, which is where one driver does not stop and hits the other vehicle that has the right of way. These accidents are especially hazardous because the side of your vehicle has less material and space to absorb energy in an accident.
If you have been injured in a traffic accident due to another person’s or entity’s negligence, be sure to talk to a personal injury attorney in your state to learn about your legal options.