causes of car accidents

The Top 7 Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

Whether you’re headed to work or heading out on a leisurely drive along the coast, you never get into your car thinking that you’re going to get into an accident. Unfortunately, car accidents are one of the things we have to deal with in life. While there’s no surefire way to prevent them, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk.

One of the biggest things you can do is to know and understand the most common causes of car accidents. Not only will this help you change your driving behavior, but you’ll be able to recognize when other drivers pose a risk.

Read on to learn all about the causes of car accidents.

1. Distracted Driving

We all live busy lives these days, but the car is not the place in which you want to multitask. 

It can be tempting to try to put on your makeup while you’re stuck in traffic on the 405. Think sending a quick text in stop-and-go traffic won’t hurt anyone? All of these things distract you from what you need to be doing: driving.

Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents across the country. Other causes of distracted driving include rubbernecking, children or pets in the car, and even daydreaming.

Focus on keeping your eyes on the road at all times. All it takes is a split-second of distraction to cause an accident. 

2. Driving Under the Influence

It should come as no surprise that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a major contributor to car accidents.

Alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription medication can have an impact on your ability to think, perceive, and react to certain driving conditions. On top of that, DUIs don’t just cause car accidents, they cause fatal car accidents.

Even if you’re lucky enough to walk away from the accident unscathed, you’ll face serious charges and can even lose your license. If you are under the influence, opt for calling a friend getting a cab instead.

As a concerned citizen, you should also learn to recognize the signs of an impaired driver so you can keep your distance from them. 

3. Fatigue

Drugs and alcohol aren’t the only things that can impair our ability to drive safely. Fatigue is also another contributing factor.

It’s estimated that 11 percent of Americans report they aren’t getting enough sleep on a daily basis, and 70 percent report insufficient sleep at least one day a month. Apart from having a negative impact on your health, not getting enough sleep (or enough quality sleep) can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk.

Lack of sleep impairs your ability to make prompt and effective judgments while driving, and it can suppress your visual acuity and motor coordination. You might even find yourself falling asleep at the wheel for a second or two. This is long enough to cause a major accident.

Prioritize getting a good amount of sleep before getting behind the wheel. If you’re feeling fatigued, it’s better to let someone else do the driving.

4. Speeding

It’s tempting to put the pedal to the metal whenever you’re running late for work or an appointment. Unfortunately, if you speed, you might find yourself even later by getting into an accident.

When you’re going faster than the posted speed limit, you won’t have as much time to react to hazards or other drivers. You’ll also need more space to stop.

On top of all of that, getting into an accident while speeding greatly increases the amount of force in the accident. This also increases the risk of fatalities.

5. Running Stop Signs and Red Lights

Just like it can be tempting to speed when you’re running short on time, it can also be tempting to roll right on through a stop sign or red light.

Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or red light is one of the easiest ways to cause an accident. You won’t always be able to see oncoming traffic from your vantage point, so it’s best not to give in to the temptation. 

A good rule of thumb is to wait until the dial on your speedometer hits zero before proceeding from a stop sign. Always look both ways before heading into the intersection to avoid other drivers who may not be obeying traffic laws.

6. Driving Aggressively

Most Californians have seen their fair share of aggressive drivers. They might weave in and out of traffic at top speed. They might tailgate you if you aren’t driving fast enough.

They also are far more likely to cause an accident than drivers who are driving safely.

The best thing to do if you encounter an aggressive driver is to get out of their way. 

7. Poor Weather

If you’ve lived in California for any amount of time, then the term “SigAlert” ought to send shivers down your spine. Nothing causes a SigAlert faster than a little rain.

Unless you live in the mountains, California doesn’t have to deal with things like snow and ice that normally cause car accidents. Slick roads from recent rain and a dense marine layer are enough to jam up traffic, though. Don’t forget about wildfires, too.

Always be vigilant when weather conditions are not favorable for driving. Allow a little extra time to get to and from work or school. If you can wait out your drive until conditions have improved, then it’s even better!

Have These Causes of Car Accidents Impacted You?

There are many different factors when it comes to car accidents. Knowing and understanding the biggest causes of car accidents is the first step in the direction of driver safety. You need to be prepared, however, should a car accident occur.

If you’ve recently been in an accident, then you need a car accident attorney on your side to help advocate for your rights. Sweet Lawyers has a team of experienced attorneys who can do just that. Contact us today to learn how we can help you!