What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?

causes of car accidents

2,740,000 people were injured as a result of a traffic crash in 2019, according to the latest available data.

Car accidents can be absolutely devastating to drivers and pedestrians. Sometimes, no matter how careful we are on the road, accidents still happen.

Why do car accidents happen? Keep reading to learn more about the most common causes of car accidents and what you can do to prevent them. 

Human Error

Human error is the number one cause of car accidents. In fact, 94% of car accidents can be attributed to the driver.

How does human error cause car accidents? Both intentionally and unintentionally. 

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common car accident causes and something we’ve heard a lot about in recent years. When many people think of distracted driving, they think of texting and driving. But the truth is, distracted driving encompasses a much broader scope than texting behind the wheel.

Distracted driving is divided into 3 categories – visual, manual, and cognitive.

Visual distractions are those that require you to take your eyes off the road. Manual distractions include anything that takes your hands off the wheel. And cognitive distractions involve taking your mind off the task at hand – driving.

Distracted driving can include:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Interacting with passengers
  • Reaching around the vehicle
  • Using headphones
  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Taking photos
  • Adjusting your GPS
  • Tuning the radio
  • Adjusting the AC or heat
  • Adjusting your navigation system
  • Daydreaming
  • Being mentally or emotionally distracted
  • Being distracted by surroundings


Drivers speed when they are running late, to keep up with traffic, and even by accident. But speeding is a common cause of car accidents.

Slow down, especially when road conditions demand it. 

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving deaths have gone down in recent years thanks to educational efforts. But 28 people still die each day in the United States because of drunk driving.

It also goes without saying that you should never drive while under the influence of any other drug or substance. 

Running Red Lights and Stop Signs

Intersections are a common location for car accidents because of drivers running red lights and stop signs. 


Being sleepy, drowsy, or exhausted can impair your ability to drive safely. This is because you can’t react as quickly.

If you’re feeling tired, don’t get behind the wheel. It’s better to get some rest first.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving includes failing to follow traffic laws, disregarding the safety of others and their property, changing lanes too quickly, failing to use a turn signal, tailgating, and more. 

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving includes speeding and committing traffic offenses that endanger other drivers.

Other Factors

While most causes of car accidents can be attributed to human error, some accidents are caused by other factors. Sometimes, these factors are the cause of accidents in combination with human error. 

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions often play a factor in crashes that also involve human error. But sometimes, poor weather can cause accidents even when drivers are doing everything right.

All kinds of inclement weather can make driving more dangerous. Rain, snow, and ice can make roads wet and slippery and reduce traction in your tires. This can cause vehicles to slide around the road, off the road, and into other cars.

Water levels, wind speed, and fog can all affect driving as well. It’s critical to account for weather conditions when driving. This means slowing down and being prepared to stop quickly. 

Vehicle Defects

Vehicles are made up of many moving parts. Unfortunately, sometimes one of these parts malfunctions. Depending on which part stops functioning properly, a vehicle may not be safe to drive.

Drivers often don’t know something isn’t working right until it’s too late and an accident occurs.

If a product defect leads to an accident and injury, you may be able to recover compensation from the product’s manufacturer. To be as prepared as possible, you should check this website to learn more about vehicle recalls. 

Road Conditions

Road conditions are often a factor in or even a cause of car accidents. When roads aren’t well maintained, there is a greater risk for accidents.

For example, drivers may have trouble braking properly or they may blow a tire. 

Preventing Car Accidents

Understanding why car accidents happen can help you avoid them.

Raising awareness about the consequences of distracted driving and other human errors behind the wheel can help reduce the prevalence of accidents. Many states are passing legislation in an attempt to crack down on distracted drivers. If you find yourself guilty of distracted driving, strive to break those bad habits.

Driving distracted can cost you, whether that’s a monetary fine, your freedom, or your life.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is learn to drive defensively. And knowing what to do after a car accident can help mitigate your damages.

Were You Injured by One of These Common Causes of Car Accidents?

You can do your part on the road by driving carefully and paying attention. But know that accidents can and will still happen.

Car accident injuries can be severe and if you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to recover compensation.

If you were in a car accident, you need to speak with a personal injury attorney who specializes in car accidents right away. Click here to schedule your free consultation to learn more about your rights. 

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