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What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?

What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Unfortunately, vehicle accidents happen daily. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows 6,102,936 traffic accidents occurred in 2021. While many of these incidents are a combination of several factors, some common causes do stand out. Let’s take a look at the common causes of car accidents and what you can do to prevent them.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior. In 2021, additional NHTSA data shows that about 3,522 lives were lost due to this type of driving. Accidents can occur when a driver diverts their attention away from the road. These activities can include:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating
  • Adjusting the radio

However, it can also include other activities such as applying makeup, checking emails, or using a navigation system.

This type of driving increases the risk of collisions. The driver’s focus is not on the traffic or the surrounding environment. Some studies have shown that distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents on the road.


Speeding is when a vehicle drives over the posted speed limit or too fast for the road conditions. According to the National Safety Council, speed played a major factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2021.

Any time someone exceeds the set speed, their reaction times are reduced. In turn, they might be unable to avoid obstacles or stop in an emergency. Vehicles that are impacted at a high rate of speed often have their safety components compromised, leading to severe injuries.

Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol is responsible for killing 32 people in accidents on a daily basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This amounts to one death every 45 minutes. The driver’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time are impaired in these cases.

Often, their physical and cognitive abilities are impaired, leading to reduced reaction time, blurred vision, impaired judgment, and increased risk-taking behavior. This type of reckless action is a serious concern and one of the leading causes of fatal accidents. Anyone convicted of driving under the influence in Maryland could face serious consequences, including fines and jail time.

Reckless Drivers

Unfortunately, not everyone is cautious on the road. Some of these individuals even border on reckless behavior. These actions involve acting carelessly or aggressively, such as weaving between lanes, excessive speeding, and tailgating. When someone engages in reckless driving, it can lead to deadly results.

Inexperienced Drivers

While reckless drivers are dangerous, inexperienced drivers are also major causes of accidents. These individuals may not have acquired the skills to navigate on the road. As a result, they tend to make mistakes, like switching lanes without signaling or making sudden stops, all of which can lead to a collision. Unfortunately, as a driver, you need to be aware of your surroundings and watch out for other vehicles on the road.

Driver Fatigue

Drowsy driving is a common issue, and it can lead to serious consequences on the road. When drivers are tired, their concentration, reaction time, and decision-making abilities are often impaired. Some studies have suggested that drowsy driving affects a driver in a way similar to impaired driving.

These drivers tend to swerve off the road or make sudden lane changes, all because the individual cannot keep their eyes open and on the road. If you feel tired, pull over and rest. To prevent getting sleepy behind the wheel, make sure to get enough sleep, take regular breaks, and avoid driving at night.

Poor Weather Conditions

Rain, snow, fog, or ice can impact driving safety by creating hazardous conditions. Reduced visibility makes it difficult for drivers to see the road ahead. In turn, they might not be able to identify road hazards, pedestrians, or other vehicles. Slippery roads due to snow or ice can also lead to a loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a collision.

Mechanical Failures

Another leading cause of car accidents is parts or mechanical failures. Tire blowouts, engine malfunctions, and brake failures can create problems in the vehicle, resulting in the driver’s inability to control it on the road. For example, brake failure prevents drivers from slowing down or stopping their vehicle, while tire blowouts can cause a car to swerve or roll over. These failures are a serious concern for drivers.

Almost all of the above causes of car accidents in Lanham are the result of human error.

Preventing Car Accidents

Fortunately, there are a few ways to prevent accidents. First, you always want to stay alert and attentive on the road. Don’t be distracted by using your phone or engaging in other activities while behind the wheel. Your focus always needs to remain on the road and keep your eyes open for pedestrians, road signs, and other objects.

Also, you should always obey the speed limits and be aware of weather or road conditions. You also need to be mindful of other drivers whenever you’re on the road. Once again, pay attention to the road and watch out for sudden stops or excessive speeding by others.

You always keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance, including checkups for your tires, lights, and brakes. When you are out driving, buckle up and never hit the road if you had a drink, took prescription medication, or feel sleepy.

Even under the best intentions, you could find yourself the victim of a car accident. At GDH Law, we can help you determine the best legal options for your situation. Our legal team offers a free consultation to assess your case.

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