Traffic accidents happen for a variety of reasons. A study by the National Highway Safety Administration concluded that the critical reason, or the last event in the crash causal chain, in 94% of car wrecks is related to the driver.
Driver Error is a Common Cause of Car Crashes
There are several actions a driver can take to cause a vehicle accident, including:
- Distracted driving.
- Following too closely.
- Making an improper turn.
- Lane changes.
In 2018 alone, speeding caused over 9,300 deaths in the United States, according to the NHTSA. Speed limit signs are designed to keep a vehicle moving at a safe speed. When a driver disobeys these laws, it creates danger for the driver, passengers, and other vehicles on the road.
Distracted driving is another cause of many car crashes and vehicular casualties, claiming the lives of over 3,000 people in 2017, reports the NHTSA. Driving distracted is when a driver loses their focus or shifts their attention away from driving. Examples include using a cell phone, looking away from the road, or adjusting the radio. Distracted driving is one of the main causes of auto accidents and has increased with the abundant use of cell phones and other devices.
Following too closely, as the name implies, is when a vehicle is driving too close to another vehicle on the road. This decreases the amount of time a driver has to react and can also affect the trailing vehicle’s view of the road.
The amount of space a driver should keep depends on several factors. A large truck, for example, may need more space to safely react and brake in the event of a sudden stop, as opposed to a lighter car with a better braking ability. The speed at which a vehicle is traveling also affects how far behind other cars it should remain. The faster a car is traveling, the more leeway required to safely trail another vehicle on the road.
Improper or illegal turns can also cause traffic collisions. This happens when a car, truck, or other vehicle disobeys traffic law and turns in an area or at a time they are not legally permitted to. An example is making a left turn at a red light, which exposes the turning vehicle to oncoming traffic.
On roads that have more than one lane, cars often change back and forth between lanes. When a driver does not perform a lane change in a safe or legal manner, they can cause a traffic accident. Drifting from lane to lane, losing sight of other vehicles, and passing in the wrong lane can all be contributing factors in vehicle accidents caused by lane changes.
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Other Causes of Accidents
Environmental conditions can also cause car accidents. Weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or sleet, not only create less friction on the road but can also impair a driver’s ability to see. This is very dangerous for all involved. Other examples of environmental factors include unexpected hazards, such as an object that has fallen on the roadway.
Vehicle malfunction is another possible reason a car wreck could occur. While most states require regular vehicle inspection to help prevent malfunction, sometimes vehicles mechanically fail in some way causing a crash.
Not all wrecks have a determinable cause. It is possible that an auto accident investigation may not find an exact cause or could determine multiple causes of an accident. Determining liability and the main causes of car accidents is specific to each case.
What to do if You Are Injured in an Auto Accident
It is important to be aware of the main causes of automobile accidents so you can take action to avoid risk factors. Remember that traffic and driving laws exist to help keep everyone on the road safe. Following the speed limit, keeping a safe distance from surrounding vehicles, maintaining focus, driving a safe vehicle, and obeying the law are great ways to increase the likelihood of a safe trip. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident, we can fight to recover the compensation you deserve.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 598-7557. Our consultations are free, and we work on a contingency basis. This means there are no upfront costs and you pay no attorney’s fees unless and until you recover compensation.
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