Getting into a car accident can lead to several unwanted consequences, including permanent injuries, loss of earnings, etc. Why not do everything you can to avoid a car accident in the first place then? Here at our San Diego personal injury law offices we would like to help you understand the causes of car accidents, and therefore help you learn preventative measures for automobile accidents.
While some of these car accident causes may seem obvious and redundant to experienced drivers, this list aims to educate all levels of drivers, from the teenage driver who just got his license, to the senior driver with 40 years experience behind the wheel. Learning to drive a car takes many instructional hours behind the wheel, especially if that driver wants to avoid causing automobile accidents. Let our Top 25 Causes of Car Accidents be your guide towards a lifetime of car accident prevention not just in San Diego, but anywhere. For the top causes of motorcycle accidents, click here.
The Top Causes of Car Accidents
25 of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Running Red Lights
- Running Stop Signs
- Teenage Drivers
- Night Driving
- Design Defects
- Unsafe Lane Changes
- Wrong-Way Driving
- Improper Turns
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
- Road Rage
- Drowsy Driving
- Tire Blowouts
- Deadly Curves
- Animal Crossings
- Street Racing
1. Distracted Driving
The number one cause of car accidents is not a criminal that drove drunk, sped or ran a red light. Distracted drivers are the top cause of car accidents in the U.S. today. A distracted driver is a motorist that diverts his or her attention from the road, usually to talk on a cell phone, send a text message or eat food.
You’ve seen them on the highway. Many drivers ignore the speed limit and drive 10, 20 and sometimes 30 mph over the limit. Speed kills, and traveling above the speed limit is an easy way to cause a car accident. The faster you drive, the slower your reaction time will be if you need to prevent an auto accident.
3. Drunk Driving
When you drink, you lose the ability to focus and function properly and its very dangerous when operating a vehicle. Driving under the influence of alcohol causes car accidents every day, even when they are one the top causes that can be avoided. Always use a designated driver if you go out and drink.
4. Reckless Driving
If you don’t drive carefully, and you may end up in a needless car accident. That’s what often happens to reckless drivers who speed, change lanes too quickly or tailgate before causing a car accident. Reckless drivers are often impatient in traffic so be sure to take extra care around aggressive drivers.
If the weather gets bad so do the roads. Car accidents happen very often in the rain because water creates slick and dangerous surfaces for cars, trucks, and motorcycles and often causes automobiles to spin out of control or skid while braking. To avoid a car accident, drive extra careful when it rains.
6. Running Red Lights
When you’re driving your car, red means stop and not doing so usually leads to car accidents. Drivers that run red lights, run the risk of causing wrongful death because they often cause side-impact collisions at high speeds. To avoid a car accident, look both ways for oncoming cars as you approach a green light.
7. Running Stop Signs
Stop signs should never be ignored, but when they are, serious car accidents are often the result. Each year, thousands of car accidents occur because one driver ran a stop sign. Many rollover accidents and side-impact car accidents result from drivers that run stop signs. You should always look both ways when proceeding through a stop sign.
8. Teenage Drivers
Youth is wasted on the young, but careful driving is never wasted on young drivers. Unfortunately, teenagers aren’t often known for their carefulness. When teen drivers hit the roads they don’t always know what to do and that lack of experience ends up causing car accidents.
9. Night Driving
Driving in the daylight can be hazardous, but driving at night nearly doubles the risk of a car accident occurring. When you can’t see what’s up ahead you don’t know what to anticipate as you drive towards it. As the sun goes down, your awareness of the road and cars around you must go up.
10. Design Defects
No product is ever made perfectly, and cars are no different. Automobiles have hundreds of parts, and any of those defective parts can cause a serious car accident. Many automakers have had problems with design defects in the past, including Ford Explorer rollover accidents and Toyota’s unintended acceleration crashes.
11. Unsafe Lane Changes
There will always come a time where you need to get over to another lane (i.e. exit from a freeway, get in the correct lane to make a turn, etc.). When drivers don’t make safe lane changes properly, it often leads to a car accident. To prevent a needless car accident, use your turn signal, check your blind spots and always proceed carefully into the next lane.
12. Wrong-Way Driving
Everyone has lapses in judgment, but when behind the wheel of a car, those clouded instincts can be deadly. You can turn down a street thinking it is a normal right turn, when in actuality, it is a one-way street in the opposite direction. When you go the wrong way, everyone is in danger because as you head towards a car accident.
13. Improper Turns
The reason that we have stop lights, turn signals, and lanes designated for moving either right or left as opposed to straight is because when drivers ignore the rules of the road, car accidents are often the result. To prevent a car accident, always look for signs and obey the proper right-of-way before you make a turn.
Many drivers are impatient and reckless, driving so close to another car that they cannot react in time if the car in front of them brakes suddenly. Many fatal car accidents have occurred when a motorist dangerously tailgated another driver at high speeds. You can prevent these car accidents by giving the car in front of you a one-car-length buffer for every 10 mph you drive.
15. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
It’s not only alcohol that is dangerous when mixed with drivers on the road. Drugs, both legal and illegal, can impair your ability to fully function as a driver. If your mind isn’t clear and you don’t have complete control over your body, getting behind the wheel can lead to serious car accidents.
You’re driving down the road, it’s dark out and you want to get home for the warm fire. Next thing you know, you’re car is spinning dangerously out of control because you hit black ice. While San Diego hardly ever has ice, ice is a major cause of car accidents for cities with cold weather climates.
Snow’s dangerous mixture of ice and water is a dangerous recipe for car accidents each winter storm. Like ice, snow is not something you usually encounter when driving in San Diego. Cities with cold winters know all-too-well just how dangerous snow can be for commuters.
18. Road Rage
Everyone has been angry at another driver for one reason or another, but some drivers let their rage overcome them. By tailgating another driver in anger or speeding past another driver only to pull in front of them and brake, these road “ragers” cause many needless car accidents each year.
Motorists in San Diego are well aware of the dangers posed by potholes in the street. Drivers run the risk of losing control of their car or blowing out a tire when they drive over these potholes. If you see a pothole in your car’s path, you can avoid a car accident by making sure that your tires do not drive over it.
20. Drowsy Driving
Driver fatigue isn’t talked about a lot, but how well can we expect anyone to drive when they’re having trouble staying awake. Most of the car accidents caused by drowsy driving occur at night. If you find yourself wanting to fall asleep at the wheel, pull over when it’s safe and try to take a quick 30 minute power nap.
21. Tire Blowouts
Most highways are littered with the scattered remains of a tire blowout. Tire blowouts can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, and they are especially dangerous for bigger automobiles like semi-trucks. When encountering a tire blowout, try to maintain control of your vehicle and pull over safely and you will likely avoid a serious car accident.
Fog isn’t the most common weather occurrence, and that’s good news for car accidents statistics. Driving is a skill that requires the ability to see, but fog makes it extremely difficult to see sometimes more than a car length in front of you. Avoid car accidents by using your head lights — and never your high beams — when driving in the fog.
23. Deadly Curves
Some people call them dead man’s curves, but everyone should be careful when approaching a curve. Many motorists have lost control of their cars along a dangerous curve and lost their lives in a car accident. So when you approach these signs, take head of the posted speed limit and drive cautiously to avoid a car accident.
24. Animal Crossings
While drivers are required to know the rules of the roadway, wild animals do not take driver’s education. Wild animals will wade out into the street, and it’s up to you to make sure that you don’t get into a car accident with them. Take caution when you see an animal crossing sign and use your high beams when traveling in rural, woody areas.
25. Street Racing
Glorified by the Fast and the Furious movie franchise, street racing is an underground culture of fast cars and deadly car accidents. With turbo engines and nitrous oxide boosters, cars often reach very high speeds during a street race, making any resulting car accident much more dangerous and unlikely to yield any survivors.
Call Us Now to Maximize Your Auto Accident Settlement
If the unfortunate happens and you do get into a car accident, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek legal representation quickly. Our experienced auto accident lawyers will help you avoid costly mistakes many people make when dealing with insurance companies who are often looking out for their best interests, not yours.
Remember, you only get one settlement for personal injury. Don’t you think you should do everything in your power to maximize your settlement?
If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in San Diego and find out how we can help you. We look forward to providing good advice for your case. There is no cost for your initial consultation, and there are no fees until we recover a fair auto accident settlement.
About the Author
Michael Pines, Senior Personal Injury Attorney & Firm Founder
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents.