On average, there are over 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year, leading to thousands of injuries and fatalities. In Washington State alone, 745 people died in traffic accidents in 2022, the highest number since 1990. Nationally, there are approximately 37,000 crash-related fatalities every year, which breaks down to about 101 deaths per day. In addition, more than 2 million people suffer injuries or disabilities each year when they are involved in a car accident. An increase in negligent driving behaviors such as drunk-driving, speeding, and texting while driving has contributed to higher rates of crash fatalities over the last few years. By learning about the most common causes of car accidents, we can avoid these behaviors and reduce our risk of a crash.
Top 5 Common Causes of Car Accidents
These five driving behaviors are responsible for millions of car accidents each year:
- Distracted driving
According to research from the American Automobile Association’s Traffic Safety Division, a whopping 25-50 percent of all car accidents are caused by distracted driving. It’s also important to know that, according to the NHTSA, driving while texting is six times more dangerous than driving drunk.
Avoid these distracted driving behaviors to ensure that you are focused on the road:
- Talking on a handheld cell phone
- Driving when you haven’t had enough sleep to stay alert
- Applying makeup
- Reading books or watching shows
While these behaviors are more accepted, it’s important to be aware that they can also be distracting:
- Turning to see an accident, arrest, or scenery, etc.
- Interacting with passengers or children
- Adjusting the radio or music player
- Driving under the influence
According to the NHTSA, drunk drivers are responsible for more than 32 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States each year. Just think about the fact that if every driver made a commitment to never get behind the wheel after drinking or getting high, our roads would be 32 percent safer!
Speed both increases the risk of car accidents and worsens the severity of the accident because a speeding car has less time to stop to avoid a crash and the speed increases the force of a crash, which makes it much more deadly. In fact, excessive and inappropriate speeding are responsible for 30 percent of traffic accident deaths in high income countries like the United States. This aggressive driving behavior may feel good to some in the moment, but it isn’t worth putting yours and other lives at risk.
- Aggressive driving
Aggressive driving is defined by a driver who has committed a series of moving traffic offenses that put other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists at risk without regard for their safety. Some examples of aggressive driving behaviors are:
- Street racing
- Changing lanes erratically
- Honking excessively
- Failing to yield the right of way such as when entering a round-a-bout
- Failing to follow traffic signals such as running a red light
- Tailgating or following at an unsafe distance
- Making aggressive gestures
Never interact with an aggressive driver. If a driver is following you, drive to a police station or call 911.
- Poor road conditions
Heavy rain, hail, snow, ice, high winds and fog can all contribute to poor road conditions that increase the risk of a collision. Data from the US Department of Transportation shows that approximately 21 percent of all motor vehicle crashes are weather-related. Drivers should read traffic reports before heading out in poor weather and drive cautiously if they must go out.
We cannot control how other people drive but by staying alert and focused on the road at all times, we have a better chance of getting away from a driver who isn’t driving safely.
Contact a car accident lawyer today!
A car accident lawyer can help you recover a full and fair settlement for the injuries you sustained in a car accident with no up-front costs to you. We know the sneaky strategies used by insurance companies to get injured people to agree to settlements far below what they are worth. Our clients typically end up with a settlement or jury award that is five to ten times larger than they could have negotiated on their own. We have been representing people injured in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. Contact the experienced and hard-working personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Mount Vernon, WA today for a FREE consultation!