Top 12 Causes of Car Accidents and What You Can Do To Prevent Them
November 10, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Car Accidents
Car accidents can have a nearly endless number of causes. However, you might be surprised to learn that the vast majority happen for only a handful of reasons. Taking the time to learn about the 12 most common causes of car accidents can help you understand why they occur and how to avoid ending up in one yourself.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents.
Distracted driving can take many forms, including the following:
- Using electronics
- Talking to passengers
- Applying makeup
- Adjusting the heat/AC
- Changing music
- Reaching for something
- Becoming lost in thought
Taking your eyes off the road for just a moment is enough to cause a crash. Giving the road your full attention and pulling over when you need to do something are two choices that can significantly reduce your chances of ending up in a distracted driving accident.
2. Cell Phone Use
Cell phone use is usually considered to be a form of distracted driving. However, it’s such a pervasive problem that it merits being addressed separately.
Forms of cell phone use that commonly result in car accidents include:
- Talking on the phone
- Checking emails
- Checking social media apps
- Reading notifications from work apps
- Taking videos or pictures
- Playing music
- Using a GPS navigation app
Thousands of drivers die each year in distracted driving accidents. In many of these fatal crashes, cell phone use is the primary reason for the distraction. Minimizing phone use while driving and using hand-free devices to take calls can help you avoid a crash.
Exceeding the speed limit is unsafe and can always increase your chances of being involved in a crash. However, speeding is particularly dangerous when done in certain situations. Going too fast around curves and speeding to beat a yellow light are two common ways that speed directly leads to a crash.
You can avoid speeding-related accidents by always following the speed limit and never putting yourself in a position where you risk running a red light.
4. Driving Under the Influence
Everyone knows that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous. However, people still get behind the wheel while intoxicated every day. It’s estimated that around 35% of accidents are caused by impaired driving. You can avoid a DUI accident by never driving while under the influence or getting into a car with an intoxicated driver.
5. Bad Weather
Poor weather conditions are often a leading cause of car accidents. There’s not much you can do to control snow, wind, rain, or ice, but you can take proper precautions.
For instance, you can help prevent weather-related crashes by slowing down or leaving space between yourself and other cars. You might also consider driving with your lights on in bad weather.
6. Teen Drivers
Teen drivers often end up in accidents because they haven’t yet learned to make proper driving judgment calls. Safely merging, changing lanes, or gauging stopping distance are all challenges for new drivers that often lead to accidents. If you notice that the driver of another vehicle is driving hesitantly or unsafely, slow down and give their vehicle plenty of room.
7. Construction Zones
Construction zones can be a major source of annoyance. This is especially true when you have somewhere to be.
However, failing to exercise caution in a construction zone can easily end with an accident. Lane changes, uneven pavement, and workers on the road are all factors to be aware of when passing through a construction zone.
8. Following Too Closely
It might surprise you how often following too closely results in a crash. However, you can’t control what the car ahead of you does. If the driver ahead slams on the brakes, driving too closely behind them can put you at fault for the accident. Pay close attention to vehicles ahead of you on the road, and make sure to give yourself ample room to stop.
9. Inexperienced Rideshare Drivers
Calling a rideshare vehicle has become a popular way to get around. Unfortunately, rideshare drivers aren’t required to have any professional driving experience.
They also have a financial motivation for getting passengers to their destinations quickly — even if that means driving unsafely. Asking a driver to slow down and reporting an unsafe driver can help you avoid ending up in a rideshare accident.
Pedestrians might not come to mind as a leading cause of car accidents, but pedestrian accidents happen all the time. Drivers often fail to see pedestrians in crosswalks, intersections, parking lots, and driveways.
At the same time, pedestrians may cross in the middle of a busy street or walk along the road in the dark. To avoid a pedestrian accident, take extra care at crosswalks and other places where pedestrians might be present.
Drivers can fail to take note of cyclists sharing the road. It’s also common for a driver to misjudge a cyclist’s speed or distance. And for their part, not all cyclists know or follow basic biking safety rules. Be on the lookout for cyclists, and don’t make assumptions about what they’ll do or how fast they’ll go.
12. Car Issues
Vehicle issues that occur when driving, such as when a car stalls on the road, blows a tire, or experiences brake failure, represent another common cause of accidents. Keeping your vehicle in good repair can help ensure your car doesn’t break down in the street. It also helps to stay alert for stalled vehicles on the road.
Protect Yourself After a Car Crash
Once you’re aware of the most common causes of car accidents, you’re better prepared to be on the lookout and avoid putting yourself into unsafe situations. The outcome of an accident can range from minor vehicle damage to death.
If you end up dealing with the financial impact of a crash, a car accident lawyer can help. They’ll work with you to build a case to recover the compensation you need.