Staying Safe While Driving: Common Causes of Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them 


A car accident can be extremely dangerous no matter how small the accident actually was. After all, any collision between two metal objects can lead to serious injury. However, as a driver becomes more experienced, they tend to lose their apprehensiveness regarding the possibility of an accident.

This can lead a driver, even experienced ones, to make poor choices on the road that can lead to accidents. Therefore, learning everything there is to know about the common causes of car accidents and how to avoid them can keep a driver safe. 

How Many Car Accidents Happen Yearly? 

The number of car accidents that occur during the course of a year can fluctuate greatly depending on the area, but recent years have seen as many as five million car accidents reported by police during a single year.

On its own, considering the fact that there are over 350 million residents of the United States, this may not seem like a lot, however, each of those accidents can have serious repercussions. 

Injuries vs. Fatalities in Car Accidents

Oftentimes, drivers develop a cavalier attitude towards car accidents as they believe only a small percentage have a chance of being fatal.

While it is technically true that only a small percentage of the five million annual accidents are likely to be fatal, roughly 50% of all car accidents result in an injury of some type.

These injuries can range in severity from being very minor to extremely debilitating. 

The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

Common Causes of Car Accidents

One of the best ways to avoid finding yourself facing a car accident is to understand the common causes for accidents themselves. The following four situations are most prominently to blame for a large number of accidents on the road:

  1. Reckless Driving

Firstly, drivers who choose not to obey the rules of the road and decide to make their own are acting recklessly and seemingly without care for others on the road. As a result, this tends to cause some of the most accidents on roads around the road.

For example, common causes of u-turn accidents are drivers failing to wait to turn until oncoming traffic clears when they have an unprotected light. 

  1. Driving While Under the Influence

Another major cause of car accident on roadways around the world, not just in the U.S., is drivers getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs.

Doing both of these can heavily impair a person’s judgment behind the wheel, but it also impacts their reaction time heavily. This means if they see someone crossing the street, they may not stop in time when they ordinarily would. 

  1. Poor Weather Conditions

An often-overlooked common cause of car accidents is poor weather conditions on the road.

Whether it is heavy snow, torrential rainfall, hurricane-like winds, or even blistering heat that fries and engine, bad weather can lead to a number of different accidents on the road. 

  1. Distracted Driving 

Finally, in the modern day and age distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of accidents on roadways. The most common distraction, however, tends to be smartphones or other similar devices.

A driver should have their full attention on the road, but many choose to text, call, change music, or do a number of other tasks while driving which can lead to a wreck. 

5 Key Tips for Avoiding a Wreck

With the common causes of car accidents outlined above, it’s worth looking at key tips any driver can use to avoid an accident on the road:

Leave enough following distance

It is recommended that a driver leave at least three to four seconds of space between their vehicle and anyone in front of them.

The reason for this recommendation is that it gives a driver enough reaction time if the person in front of them slams on the brake or makes some type of maneuver that leads to a quick decision on behalf of the driver following.  

Scan the road ahead of your vehicle

Building off of the last point, it isn’t enough to just leave following distance with the vehicle in front of you.

All drivers should make an active effort to scan the road well ahead of their vehicle to look for things which may cause a quick reaction.

Whether it’s traffic, a road hazard, or something else entirely, try to watch at least twelve seconds ahead of your car on the road. 

Ensure your vehicle is operating properly

Taking care of preventative maintenance can help to reduce the risk of an accident as it helps to prevent breakdowns on the road.

A vehicle that stops working in the middle of a trafficked area, such as a freeway or intersection, puts many people at risk, including the driver of the broken-down car.

Handle any routine maintenance tasks on your vehicle to lower the chance of this occurring. 

Practice driving in poor weather when it is safe

As mentioned, poor weather conditions can lead to accidents on the road primarily due to the fact that people are unfamiliar driving in those conditions.

To rectify this, practice driving in these conditions in a safe environment and with someone who is experienced. 

Never drive while under the influence 

Finally, above all else, never get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have had any substances that can affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle.

This is reckless behavior which can lead to injury and death, along with serious punishments from the law. 

Keep yourself and others safe on the road

The number one rule of driving to keep at the top of mind is to be a defensive driver, rather than an offensive one. You cannot control the actions of others who are on the road, but your own actions are certainly in your control.

Always stay vigilant when you are behind the wheel and be sure to remove and potential distractions that may take your total focus away from the road as you drive.

In the event you are involved in a car accident where you believe another driver was acting negligently, considering filing a personal injury lawsuit rather than settling the matter with insurance. 


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To Sum Up

In summary, car accidents are dangerous regardless of their size, and even experienced drivers can make poor choices on the road. Understanding the common causes of accidents, such as reckless driving, driving under the influence, poor weather conditions, and distracted driving, is essential for staying safe. There are millions of car accidents reported each year, with about 50% resulting in injuries.

To avoid accidents, drivers should maintain a safe following distance, scan the road ahead, ensure proper vehicle maintenance, practice driving in poor weather conditions, and never drive under the influence. Being a defensive driver and eliminating distractions while driving are crucial. If involved in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, considering a personal injury lawsuit may be an option.