What are the Most Common Causes of a Car Wreck?

Common Causes of Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Car accidents are unfortunately prevalent and inevitable. Some of the common causes of car accidents, such as drunk driving and driving over the speed limit, are avoidable. Consult an expert personal injury lawyer in case of a car wreck for the necessary legal advice.

According to the CDC, car accidents are among the leading cause of work-related deaths in the US. Car accidents can be stressful, traumatic, and very costly. The aftermath of a car wreck often makes the situation worse, especially since you will have to deal with missing work, doctor’s appointments, and dealing with insurance companies.

While motor vehicle accidents are sometimes inevitable, in some instances, you may have to understand the potential causes of car accidents and make an effort to minimize the chances of the car accident happening. Below are some common causes of motor vehicle accidents to look out for:


According to NHTSA, speeding has played a major role in roughly a third of all motor vehicle accident fatalities for over two decades. Furthermore, in 2019, speeding contributed to 26% of all road fatalities. Driving even slightly past the posted speed limit is considered speeding and can endanger other drivers’ safety.

In addition, speed also affects your road safety, even cruising at the posted speed limit could be too fast and cause you to lose control due to the current road conditions like an improperly-lit road at night, roads under construction, and repair, or slippery roads during bad weather. Unfortunately, the faster you drive creates slower reaction times, thus reducing your ability to drive safely.

Drunk Driving

Almost 28 people die daily in the US from car accidents caused by drunk driving. Any individual, consuming alcohol—or getting intoxicated with drugs—that gets behind the wheel is a danger to themselves and other drivers. Impaired driving dulls your senses and cognitive functions, and just like speeding, slows down your reaction time and hinders your ability to avoid a serious accident. If you choose to drink, plan ahead and   schedule a sober designated driver to take you home.

Distracted Driving

Around 8 people are killed daily in the US due to distracted driving. Currently, distracted driving accidents are among the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes in the US. In the current digital age with smartphones, it is not uncommon to find distracted drivers constantly checking their phones. Evidently, mobile phones have become the biggest distraction for drivers.

The three main types of distractions for drivers include:

  • Manual: removing your hands off the steering wheel
  • Visual: removing your eyes off the road
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving

Distracted drivers are those whose attention is not fully on the road. Instead, a distracted driver may be occupied with other passengers, gadgets, or sites along the road. A distracted driver using a mobile phone while driving is four times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than one who isn’t.

Driving while using a mobile phone reduces your reaction time significantly, whether braking reaction time or reaction to traffic signals. Additionally, it makes it very hard to maintain the proper lane and distance between cars. It is vital to always keep your eyes on the road and be present mentally.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is driving with a willful disregard for safety or showing willful disregard to consequences when behind the wheel. There are many forms – in fact, impaired driving, speeding, and distracted driving are also relatively classified under reckless driving. Some other common forms that may easily cause a car accident include:

  • Road rage 
  • Tailgating
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Racing other vehicles
  • Going around railroad barriers
  • Running stop signs or red lights
  • Passing on blind curves.

All these examples reduce your reaction time, hindering your ability to slow down and increasing your chance of traffic accidents. Even failure to buckle up may be considered reckless driving. While failing to fasten your safety belt doesn’t directly cause a car accident, wearing your seat belt helps prevent serious injuries when you’re behind the wheel.

Bad Weather

Difficult weather conditions can significantly affect road conditions and traveling, and can cause you to lose control of your motor vehicle while driving on slippery roads. Rain is the most common example of weather that increases the chances of a car accident.

On the one hand, light rain is not as dangerous, especially if you drive at the recommended speed and avoid reckless driving. On the other hand, heavy rains are the primary cause of traffic accidents. Water forms slick roadways, which then increases the likelihood of your tires sliding while driving.

Regardless of your traction, it is crucial to maintain a comfortable, safe speed and distance during heavy rains to avoid skidding and causing car accidents. Slick roads are significantly more dangerous for motorcycles since they operate on two wheels. With poor visibility due to fog or heavy rain, it is advisable to keep off the road until the bad weather subsides and your visibility is restored.

Car Design Defects

Several car manufacturers have had complaints from users about unusual defects in their products’ designs that affected their usage. A common defect that you may have come across is a vehicle’s ease of tipping over, especially around sharp turns. Though minimal, car design defects make vehicles vulnerable to causing or worsening car accidents.

Night Driving

Driving at night increases the chances of car accidents more than during the daytime. Most people ignore the threat of driving at night, especially in unfamiliar territories and during weather changes. With all these factors combined, your chances of causing or getting into a car accident are high. Despite having new LED lights or driving on lit roadways, your visibility is still partially impacted, and it may be hard to notice other cars coming from your side.

Inexperienced Driving

The Department of Motor Vehicles issues licenses to well-trained and qualified drivers to confidently tackle the roads. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see underage teenage drivers behind the wheel from time to time. Most of these teenage drivers are inexperienced and lack the skills to drive long-distance.

However, even as an adult, it is advisable to complete your training before driving. Inexperienced drivers don’t always know how and when to react in certain scenarios, thus increasing the chances of car accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Long-distance driving can be tiring, especially if you don’t break to rest frequently. Driver fatigue becomes an even bigger problem if you are driving at night. If you are fatigued, you may doze off or fall asleep and, if you are not quick to regain control, cause a car accident. To avoid drowsy driving when driving long distances or after performing heavy, demanding tasks, ensure you rest before getting behind the wheel and stop when you feel tired.

Poor Roads

Most American roads are designed with little to no defects. Unfortunately, for the few roads that have defects, such as potholes and uneven surfaces, this could increase tire blowouts for drivers. Instead of concentrating on oncoming traffic, you may be busy dodging potholes. This distraction and erratic driving could cause a car crash.

Bottom Line

Car accidents happen at the least expected and most inconvenient times. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of these accidents are avoidable circumstances due to driver negligence. Safe driving is key to avoiding car accidents. Also, ensure your car is in good shape before embarking on a long drive.

If you have been in a car accident, get the proper help by getting emergency first aid and medical attention. Then contact a professional car accident lawyer, like Erney Law, to help you with any legal matters you may need to pursue.

A personal injury attorney will help you file for compensation in case of severe injuries and damages to your car. Most importantly, having a qualified car accident attorney enables you to deal with insurance companies accordingly.