In mere seconds, a car accident can profoundly alter lives and leave devastating consequences. When you or a loved one suffers severe injuries or tragic death due to another driver’s negligence, you naturally seek answers.
Pinpointing the most prevalent cause of accidents empowers drivers to protect themselves and advocate for improved safety measures. However, accident causes are often complex, and insurance companies may obscure key factors to minimize claims payouts.
Armed with clear knowledge of the most common car accident causes, you can cut through the confusion to establish true fault. A car accident attorney can conduct a rigorous investigation and analysis to uncover the specific lapses or oversights that led to your accident.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Car crashes are a regular occurrence on the road today. Here are some of the most common reasons why car accidents that happen:
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Distracted driving is one of the top contributors to car accidents, resulting in thousands of injuries and deaths annually. Any activity that diverts the driver’s focus away from the road can prove deadly, even for just a few seconds.
There are three main types of driving distractions:
- Visual: Taking eyes off the road, even briefly
- Manual: Taking hands off the steering wheel to manipulate other items
- Cognitive: Mind taken away from the task of driving
Common distracting activities include:
Texting, checking notifications, talking on the phone, or programming GPS directions dramatically increases crash risk by combining visual, manual, and cognitive distraction. Just brief glances at a phone take eyes off the road long enough to lead to disaster.
Eating or Drinking
Actions like unwrapping food items, taking drinks, reaching into bags, chewing food, or spilling all divert eyes, hands, and mind from the road. Even the use of a cup holder cannot offset the distraction.
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Fiddling with music, AC and heating controls, seat adjustments, mirrors, and other buttons and knobs results in less hands on the steering wheel and eyes inside the car.
Attending to Passengers
Interacting with children in the backseat or attending to other passengers is rated one of the most hazardous distractions. Screaming kids or boisterous adults divert focus.
Alcohol impairment is cited as a major contributor in over 25% of all fatal crashes each year. Even a small amount of intoxication can dangerously reduce driving ability. Intoxication delays the processing of hazards and appropriate response actions, leaving less time to avoid threats and react to emergencies on the roadway.
Essential abilities like motor control, balance, perception of speed and distance, and focus are impeded under the influence, compromising vehicle handling. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and clouds judgment, increasing risky behaviors like speeding, swerving, tailgating, and recklessness.
Exceeding posted speed limits or going too fast for conditions reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around dangers and increases the impact forces when a crash occurs. At faster speeds, drivers have less time to spot, process, and respond to hazards and less room for error, making avoidance maneuvers more difficult.
The faster the speed, the longer the distance traveled during reaction time and braking. At highway speeds, stopping distance is dangerously multiplied. Higher speeds dramatically multiply the forces exerted in a collision, exponentially increasing damage and injury severity. Impact at 50 mph is twenty times more violent than at 10 mph.
Driving while drowsy has similar impairing effects as alcohol intoxication. Fatigue slows reaction times, decreases awareness, impairs judgment, and increases lane deviations.
Driver fatigue has many causes:
- Lack of adequate nightly sleep
- Driving for very long periods without rest
- Driving during natural sleep times, like night shift work
- Undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders
Fatigued driving is perilous because it dramatically reduces critical driving abilities. Drowsy drivers experience delayed reaction times to roadway hazards and sudden dangers.
Their general awareness and ability to stay focused on the driving task is also decreased. Fatigued drivers are more prone to risky lane drifting, weaving between lanes, and unintentional swerving.
They also have a reduced capacity to process complex traffic scenarios and make sound judgment calls. All of these impairments from tiredness behind the wheel jeopardize the safe operation of a vehicle similar to alcohol intoxication.
Additional Major Causes
Other top contributors to car accidents include:
- Reckless behaviors like aggressive speeding, tailgating, illegal passing, and ignoring traffic controls
- Slippery roads and reduced visibility during heavy rain, snow, and other storms
- Vehicle defects like worn tires, defective brakes, and broken lights increase the chance of a crash
- New teen drivers and elderly drivers may lack the experience needed to handle challenging conditions
Why Determine the Cause of a Car Accident?
Accidents are often the result of a complex combination of factors. However, insurance firms who are looking to limit their financial responsibility frequently debate who is at fault. Lawyers who specialize in car accidents know how to conduct in-depth investigations and reconstruct accident conditions to determine what exactly happened in your case.
Do not settle for the insurance company’s explanation. Let a car accident lawyer from Richmond Vona, LLC partner with you to uncover the real cause of your crash and identify the parties who are truly liable. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can help you.