Almost 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads in 2021, the highest number recorded in 16 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While motor vehicle accidents have decreased since 2020, traffic fatalities have risen due to an increase in negligent driving behaviors such as drunk-driving, speeding, talking or texting while driving, and driving too fast in dangerous weather conditions. By learning about the most common causes of car accidents, we can avoid these behaviors and reduce our risk of being involved in a collision.
Top 5 Common Causes of Car Accidents
Avoid these common causes of car accidents to reduce your risk of being involved in a crash:
- Distracted driving
Research from the American Automobile Association’s Traffic Safety Division reveals that between 25-50 percent of all car accidents are caused by distracted driving and the NHTSA reports that driving while texting is six times more dangerous than driving drunk.
Distracted driving behaviors include:
- Talking on a handheld cell phone
- Driving while very fatigued
- Rubbernecking to see an accident, arrest, or scenery, etc.
- Interacting with passengers or children
- Adjusting the radio or music player
- Reading books, maps, or apps
- Applying makeup
- Drunk Driving
The NHTSA reports that drunk drivers account for more than 32 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States each year. The sad part is that this behavior is completely avoidable. Make a commitment to never get behind the wheel after drinking. Choose a designated driver or plan for a safe ride home from a friend or paid service such as Uber or Taxi if you decide to drink outside your home.
Speed is a huge factor in increasing the risk of car accidents and worsening the severity of the accident. This is because a speeding car has less time to stop to avoid a crash and the speed increases the force of a crash, which makes it much more deadly. In fact, excessive and inappropriate speeding are responsible for 30 percent of traffic accident deaths in high income countries like the United States. Leaving enough time to get to where you’re going, following the posted speed limits, and observing the flow of traffic and current weather conditions are the best ways to avoid speeding.
- Aggressive driving
Aggressive driving is when a driver commits a series of moving traffic offenses that put other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists at risk without regard for their safety. Aggressive driving behaviors include:
- Honking excessively
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Street racing
- Tailgating or following at an unsafe distance
- Failure to yield or follow traffic signals
- Making aggressive gestures
Never interact with an aggressive driver. If the situation escalates and you feel unsafe, call 911 to report the aggressive driver.
- Inclement weather
Heavy rain, hail, snow, ice, high winds and fog can make driving conditions much more difficult. According to data from the US Department of Transportation, approximately 21 percent of all motor vehicle crashes are weather-related. It’s always safest to avoid driving when weather conditions are poor, but if you must head out then slow down and brake lightly.
Though it’s impossible to completely avoid accidents because we can’t control the behavior of others, being aware of the most dangerous driving behaviors is helpful.
Seek the help of a car accident lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a collision because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!