Top Causes for Car Accidents

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Ever since the first automobile accident, road safety has been a critical issue for all drivers. Nearly 1.3 million people die because of car accidents globally every year, amounting to around 3,274 deaths each and every day. The World Health Organization (WHO) projected that estimate to rise as much as 65 percent by the year 2020.

Knowing the top causes for car accidents can increase your awareness while on the road and help you get to your destination safely.

Distracted Driving

With inclement weather, poor road conditions, and young, drunk, or reckless drivers out there, the top cause for car accidents and biggest threat to drivers is the drivers themselves. Distracted driving accounts for as much as 25 percent of car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s also responsible for one out of every five injuries sustained in a car accident.

Common reasons for distracted driving are phone use, daydreaming, staring at other accidents, using or reaching for something inside of the car, tending to other passengers in the car, eating or drinking, engaging in activities like smoking or applying makeup, and adjusting climate or audio controls.

Drowsy Driving

Although you don’t hear as much about this cause of car accidents, driving while drowsy, fatigued, or exhausted causes an estimated 100,000 accidents annually in the United States. The most likely time to drive while drowsy is between 8 p.m. and 11 a.m., but it can occur any time you are too tired to pay optimal attention to operating your vehicle safely. Experts recommend pulling over and taking a short power nap if you find yourself exhausted behind the wheel.

Drowsy driving causes many truck accidents. Truck drivers often drive for long shifts without stopping due to financial incentives to complete their deliveries quickly.


If you increase your speed from 40 miles per hour (mph) to 60 mph, the amount of energy released during a car accident more than doubles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Because of reduced reaction times, speeding is the second most common cause of car accidents. Speeding magnifies your risk of having a car accident. And the faster you go, the higher the likelihood your crash will be severe. Paying attention and adhering to posted speed limits, especially in construction zones, is a good preventive measure for automobile accidents.

Driving While Intoxicated

Intoxicated drivers lose the ability to function properly and focus while driving. If you drive under the influence of alcohol, you increase your probability of a car accident by an estimated 900 percent.

Many people fall under the misconception that eating a meal or drinking coffee before driving will help absorb some of the alcohol in their system and allow them to drive sober, but that is a myth. Drunk driving is the deadliest cause of car accidents.

Bad Weather

Whether it’s rain, hail, snow, ice, high winds, or fog, a common rule of thumb to follow is, if the weather is bad, so are the roads. Inclement weather makes driving much more difficult and is responsible for more than 7,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Many drivers slow down and increase their attention while it is snowing or in icy conditions, but rain is actually the deadliest weather driving hazard. According to federal statistics, in 39 out of 50 states, rain caused more fatalities than snow.

While distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving make up the top causes of car accidents, driving in bad weather is another cause that should be taken seriously.

Driving Recklessly

Reckless driving includes decision errors like aggressive driving, improper turns, driving too fast for conditions, road rage, and illegal maneuvers. It also includes disregarding traffic signals, running red or stop lights, running stop signs, following other vehicles too closely, and improper lane changes.

Whether driving recklessly is intentional or not, reckless drivers are another top cause for car accidents.

The Road to Compensation

Knowing the top causes of car accidents increases your awareness, reduces your risk of being involved in a deadly crash, and keeps you safer while out on the roads. But that’s just you. What happens when another driver fails to drive safely and injures you?

Many people seek compensation for their injuries, medical bills, lost time at work, and other expenses associated with their injuries. If you want to pursue compensation, hire a car accident lawyer from Joel H. Schwartz, PC.