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What Are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents?

Published: Dec 6, 2021 in Auto Accident, Distracted Driving
causes car accidents

Everyone knows that Americans love their cars and trucks. We are a nation of drivers. One of our greatest accomplishments is our national highway system. But have you ever thought about how many cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles are on the roads and highways of the United States at any given time? It is a tough number to estimate. It is known that there are approximately 287 million registered vehicles in the United States. Experts estimate that around 115 million vehicles of all shapes and sizes ride our roads on the average day. Obviously, this number increases significantly during heavy travel days, such as Thanksgiving. 

With this amount of traffic, there is bound to be a significant number of car accidents. The shocking number of daily accidents in the United States is currently at over 16,000 per day. That number is staggering when you think about the amount of destruction, injuries, and death those accidents cause. It is a difficult number to comprehend. With each collision, there is usually one ultimate cause. Here are the seven leading causes of car accidents, in order:

  • Distracted driving. Over the past 20 years, there has been an epidemic of distracted driving accidents in the industrialized world. You must ask the question, what changed? Why did distracted driving outpace other causes? The answer is the invention of the smartphone. Prior to the smartphone, there were other things to be distracted by within your car, including the radio, talking to passengers, and the scenery. But once the smartphone hit the market and once people become addicted to them, this has caused a significant increase in the number of distracted driving accidents. In 2019, a total of 3,142 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents, with hundreds of thousands more sustaining injuries in those collisions. Teens and young adults are most at risk of becoming distracted while driving. In 2018, approximately 25 percent of all distracted driving accidents were caused by people between the ages of 20 and 29 years old. All it takes is a second looking away from the road in front of you and at your phone to veer off the road, lose control, and crash.
  • Speeding. A close second to distracted driving is speeding. Almost all accidents involve some sort of speeding component. One side of the speeding issue is a motorist driving too fast and unable to control their vehicle, losing control, and crashing into someone else. If the car was traveling the speed limit, most likely the driver would not have lost control. The other side of this situation is someone traveling too fast and cannot stop in time when a sudden emergency appears in front of them. Even though the driver was in perfect control of their vehicle and watching in front of them properly, they could not stop in time because of their speed.
  • Impaired driving. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol has always been a serious problem and continues to be one. Although with the advent of ride-share services such as Uber, Lyft, and others, DUI accidents have lowered, it is still a major cause of accidents and the leading cause of collisions in some areas of the country. In almost all states, the legally impaired limit is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08, but even if your BAC is below this level, it can still affect your ability to drive safely. Alcohol is not the only problem. Driving while on drugs is also a big issue. A motorist can even be arrested and charged with driving under the influence when they take legally prescribed medication given to them by their doctor. If the medication affects your ability to drive safely, you should not be driving while taking the drug.
  • Aggressive driving. Aggressive driving includes those drivers who constantly drive fast, but also those who make other erratic and unsafe moves with their vehicles. For example, switching lanes quickly and without warning can cause accidents. Driving too closely behind someone is a danger. Engaging in road rage incidents and purposely cutting people off or intentionally hitting their vehicles because they did something to make you mad is especially dangerous.
  • Bad weather. Although you may think that bad weather cannot be caused by a driver, driving too fast or recklessly during bad weather, given the conditions of the roadway, can be blamed on the driver. There is nothing wrong with driving in snowy weather or on icy roads, as long as you know how to drive in those conditions and you drive slowly. If you are driving slow enough, you should be able to stop your vehicle no matter how icy and slippery the roads are.
  • Nighttime driving. There are a surprising number of people who have trouble driving at night because of difficulty seeing. As people age, sometimes nighttime driving becomes difficult, owing to the glare from oncoming headlights and the light reflected from street signs. People can have very good eyesight and still suffer from this problem. If this is affecting your nighttime driving ability, speak to your eye doctor. There are glasses that can be worn that cut down on the glare.
  • Teenage drivers. In almost all states, the legal driving age is 16 years old. In some states, you can begin the process of getting a learner’s permit at 15 years old. However, once a young driver gets his or her full license, they are free to drive anywhere and at any time. The problem with teen drivers is that they are basically unsafe drivers. Many of them believe that they are invincible. Therefore, you will see teenage drivers doing many of the unsafe things in this list merely because they are inexperienced and immature.

Belleville Car Accident Lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC Focus Their Practice on Representing Seriously Injured People

Being seriously injured in a car accident because of someone’s negligent and reckless driving can turn your life upside down. The Belleville car accident lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC are dedicated to putting your needs first and helping you achieve the best possible result for your case. Our experienced trial lawyers will pursue your case with all our available resources because we understand how much your case matters to you. Call us today at 618-277-3644 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients in St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.