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The 8 Most Common Car Accident Causes

By: Anapol Weiss

Many automobile crashes can be attributed to driver error. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has examined several other critical reasons for accidents that affect thousands of people every year.

The NHTSA conducted the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS) from 2005 to 2007 to collect information about factors leading to crashes involving light vehicles. Researchers investigated several factors of crash occurrence including pre-crash movement and events, the critical reason for the crash, and more.

Most Common Environmental Causes of Car Accidents

Of the crashes observed in the NMVCCS, 52,000 were associated with an environment-related reason. The most common environmental factors leading to a crash included:

  • Slick roads

  • Glare

  • View obstructions

  • Other highway-related conditions

  • Fog, rain and/or snow

  • Other weather conditions

  • Signs and/or signals

  • Road design

About 50 percent of the crashes were attributed to slick roads. To combat these dangers, AAA recommends driving slower on wet and icy roads and increasing the following distance between your vehicle and those in front of you. Tire care is also critical; properly inflated tires in good condition can be extremely beneficial in bad weather.

Glare was the second most common reason for environment-related crashes. To compensate for reduced visibility caused by glare, drivers should decrease speed and increase following distance. AAA suggests looking down and to the right when oncoming vehicles are shining light directly into your eyes. Using your peripheral vision will reduce the effect of the glare, as you are not using the most light-sensitive part of your eyes. These and other recommendations help protect drivers from the dangers of glare at night as well as during the day.

Reckless Driving Can Also Cause Car Crashes

Aside from environmental causes, human error or negligence also play pivotal roles in causing car accidents. Reckless driving, including tailgating, driving at high speeds, and ignoring rules of the road, is a major contributor to auto accidents. There is a lot we can do to help prevent car accidents caused by human error.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading human-related causes of car accidents. Distraction was a factor in 9% of fatal crashes reported in 2017.

Texting while driving is a widespread problem and a major contributor to distracted driving. When you send or read a text message, you take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. That’s long enough to cover the length a football field if driving at 55 mph. Cell phone use while driving is a leading cause of car accidents.

The good news is that distracted driving, like other car crash causes due to human error, is completely preventable. One of the best ways to help prevent distracted driving is having open and honest conversations about it with the people in our lives. There are many organizations working to further these conversations with kids, teens and their parents, like

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving can range from mere negligence to overt aggression, but either way, can contribute to car accidents. Reckless driving isn’t just road rage, though certainly behaviors like tailgating, swerving, breaking or accelerating too quickly, and changing lanes in no-pass zones are aggressive and put both the driver and other drivers on the road at risk. Drivers acting aggressively are less likely to yield the right of way and obey speed limits, also creating a greater risk for rear-ends and other collisions.

Causes of accidents also include getting behind the wheel when fatigued or not familiarizing oneself with the rules of the road of that area. Drowsy driving contributes to around 100,000 reported crashes annually.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving intoxicated is a commonly-understood cause of accidents nationwide, but one that still contributes to fatalities and injuries. Even though car crash fatalities due to driving under the influence of alcohol or the influence of drugs continue to fall every year, they still claim more than 10,000 lives every year.

Getting behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs impairs reaction time and reduces inhibitions. This is a deadly combination which can lead to a serious accident or a fatal crash that involves not just the driver, but other innocent people on the road.

Speak to a Lawyer if You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident

The responsibility rests on each and every driver to prevent accidents by protecting themselves and their vehicles against the effects of environmental dangers to the best of their ability. Sadly, negligence on the road continues to result in preventable deaths and injuries.

Contact our firm for assistance if you or a loved one was hurt in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else’s carelessness. We can investigate the situation and answer your legal questions. If you were involved in a wreck, speak to a Philadelphia car accident attorney at Anapol Weiss today.