Top 5 Main Causes of Car Accidents 

One thing that’s certain is that more and more vehicles are out on the road every day. This means more car accidents happen every day. 

Even with all the advancements in car safety technology, accidents are still a major problem for folks simply trying to get from point A to point B. This is why we’ve put together a list of some of the top causes of car accidents and what you can do to avoid them so that your daily commute doesn’t become a nightmare. 

We’re looking at not just driver-related causes, but factors outside of the car as well that lead to accidents so that you can be mindful of distractions and protect yourself from harm. 

#1: Distracted Driving 

By far the most common cause of accidents today is distracted driving. Even with all the new features available to prevent this, a lot of people cannot help but get distracted while driving. While other factors may play into the reason a person gets into an accident, the underlying cause is typically distracted driving. In fact, distracted driving due to cell phone use has become so prevalent that many states have enacted special laws to charge people caught on their cell phones while behind the wheel, even if the vehicle is stopped. Most states have some interpretation of these kinds of laws, making it one of the few near-universal statutes in America. 

Automakers have tried to curb the problem as well, offering new technology that allows for hands-free technology, where people can use their phone through the vehicle without needing to look at it or use their hands to respond to calls and text messages. The problem is that there is still a large percentage of drivers who don’t own vehicles with this technology, and even with this technology, the potential distraction is still there. 

Experts suggest placing your phone in the passenger seat or away in a side compartment while driving so that the temptation to use it is not there. 

There are other types of distracted driving as well. Drivers tend to get distracted easily by other passengers, accidents, and happenings on the road, or while trying to eat food, change clothes, apply makeup, or perform other activities while driving. Even a split second of distraction from one of these causes can lead to a serious accident. According to Clifford Law Offices, when traveling on a major highway, the risk and likelihood of an accident go up dramatically. 

Photo: Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush / Pexels

#2: Driving Under the Influence 

Even though everywhere you go there are laws against driving drunk or under the influence of drugs, many people still do it and get arrested for it every day. The main culprit is drunk driving or driving while intoxicated. The trouble with this is that alcohol raises the likelihood of a crash many times over due to the way that alcohol interacts with the body. As a person continues to drink, they become less able to respond to stimuli in a rapid manner because alcohol is a depressant. This means that it slows down the body through the central nervous system. 

People like drinking alcohol because of the disinhibiting effect it has on them, but the side effect is that they move and talk slower and are less able to react when something happens. This is why you should never have more than a drink or two if you plan on getting behind the wheel of your car afterward. 

#3: Poor Visibility 

Let’s face it, if you can’t see, that makes it really difficult to maneuver well in traffic. Poor visibility is a leading cause of auto accidents in a number of different cases. 

In some instances, poor lighting on the roads makes it difficult to see. When combined with other hazards or drivers not using their vehicle’s headlights, this makes an accident even more likely. Weather conditions like rain and fog can add to visibility issues making it nearly impossible to see very far in front of you. 

Darkness is one of the primary culprits, particularly on back roads and areas where lighting isn’t present. Other issues can mess with your visibility as well, such as trees and vegetation that isn’t trimmed, air pollution and smoke that can make it hard to see, and poor signage indicating road hazards. 

The best thing to do in these cases is to either get off the road until visibility improves or drive slowly and carefully with your headlights on so that you can see as best you can to make it to safety. 

#4: Faulty Vehicle Parts/Poor Maintenance

Sometimes it’s not just the driver but the vehicle itself that is responsible for an accident. Poor vehicle maintenance and faulty parts can easily lead someone into an accident. There are so many parts on a vehicle that if not maintained can lead to an accident. It’s important to understand how to maintain your vehicle.

For instance, letting your tires go bald can cause you to skid, and that can lead to you crashing or hydroplaning in water, which can easily lead to your vehicle crashing and causing a serious accident. The same can be said for maintaining the brakes, windshield wipers, transmission, and other parts as a single fault can be the direct cause of an accident. 

#5: Inclement Weather 

The one thing that is least in our control when driving, but that can still cause an accident, is the weather. Bad weather can cause an accident anywhere and at any time. Rain makes it hard to see and makes the roads slick, which can lead to slipping and sliding and can easily cause a crash. 

Fog lowers visibility to nothing and can make it hard to see even 2 feet in front of your vehicle, even with your headlights on. Heavy winds can push your vehicle around, especially if you have a light car and are traveling at high speeds. Snow is another weather event that can not only cause visibility issues, but it can make the roads dangerous as well, making it all the more likely that an accident may occur. 

While you can’t prevent everything from happening, with a little patience and preparedness, you can avoid these situations that make it more likely that you will have an automobile accident.