Getting into a car accident is the last thing anyone wants to do, so most people are careful when on the road. Additionally, vehicle manufacturers have begun installing newer technology such as forward collision systems, backup cameras, and blind-spot notifications. Despite this, people still get into car accidents every day due to any number of causes. All it takes is for one person to have a bad day, drive drunk, or have a medical emergency while driving for an innocent person to become a victim.
Driver negligence is the cause of most accidents. In some cases, the responsible party could be criminally liable as well as civilly liable, such as when driving under the influence or speeding.
In some cases, you are not at fault for an accident. Depending on who is at fault, you could recover damages from the at-fault entity. However, if you are involved in a multi-vehicle wreck and neither you nor the other driver is at fault, you could still recover damages from your insurance company.
Read on to learn more about the nine common car accident causes putting you at risk on the roadways.
1. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Driving under the influence includes alcohol and drugs, including legal and illegal prescription medications. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, drunk driving kills approximately 1,000 people in California each year, accounting for 30% of all vehicle-related deaths in the state. Additionally, of the drivers who were killed in automobile accidents in 2019 in California, 50% tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs.
2. Distracted Driving
Regardless of what a person thinks, multitasking is dangerous. Your mind is not concentrating enough on more than one subject, especially driving. Even talking hands-free on the phone or conversing with passengers increases your risk of getting into an accident. Eating, texting, fiddling with the climate controls and/or radio, reading, and putting on makeup are all forms of distracted driving.
Sometimes, people just get caught up in a high-tempo song on the radio, they are late for work, or they are keeping up with the flow of traffic, but whether or not it’s intentional, driving over the speed limit increases the chances of causing an accident. Speeding also increases the severity of injuries associated with an accident.
4. Aggressive and Reckless Driving
Disregarding the safety of others while behind the wheel is considered reckless driving. If someone is cutting through traffic, making abrupt lane changes without signaling, or tailgating the car in front of them, they increase the likelihood of causing an accident.
Aggressive driving involves drivers who attempt to harass or intimidate others. They may attempt to force another car off the road, abruptly slam on their brakes to “brake check” another vehicle, or otherwise behave in a malicious manner.
Both types of driving significantly increase the chances of crashing. Often, a driver trying to avoid a reckless or aggressive driver will end up in a wreck while the aggressor continues on unscathed, and without witnesses or dash camera footage, the at-fault driver may not be located in order to be held accountable.
5. Ignoring Traffic Control Signals
Drivers frequently ignore stoplights and stop signs, yield signs, and even crosswalks. In addition to causing accidents in intersections and other merge points, they could face liability for the injuries or deaths they cause by ignoring traffic control signals.
6. Fatigue and Tiredness
Being tired and/or fatigued also causes accidents. Many people use these words interchangeably, but there is a difference. If you are tired, a quick nap makes you more alert. If you are fatigued, even a full night’s sleep does not remove the fatigue. Truckers often get fatigued because of the many hours they spend on the road. If you close your eyes for just a few seconds, you can travel far enough out of your lane to cause an accident, ram into the back of the vehicle in front of you, or even swerve off the roadway before you wake up.
7. Weather Conditions
In some cases, the weather causes an accident. However, a driver could be found negligent if they did not adjust their speed for weather conditions. For example, if it starts snowing but it’s not sticking, drivers often feel comfortable driving at or above the speed limit. However, the roads are wet and might start to freeze. If a driver crashes because they hit a slippery spot on the road, they could be held liable for the accident if they didn’t slow down enough for weather conditions.
On the other hand, if it is sunny and an 80 mph gust of wind comes out of nowhere and flips a tractor-trailer truck on top of you, the truck driver is most likely not negligent. You might recover damages from your insurance company since the accident was probably not your fault nor the truck driver’s fault.
8. Manufacturer Responsibility for Car Accident Causes
When a vehicle comes with a defect from the manufacturer, the manufacturer usually issues a recall and fixes the problem. However, if a vehicle manufacturer does not issue a recall and make repairs, it could be held liable if the problem caused injuries or death.
Many people use aftermarket parts for vehicle repairs. By the same token, if a manufacturer knowingly sells defective parts and those defective parts cause an accident, you could hold the manufacturer of the parts liable for damages.
9. Government Responsibility for Car Accident Causes
Road conditions also cause accidents. If poorly maintained roads cause a wreck, the injured party could take legal action against the municipality responsible for road maintenance.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer After Your Accident
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you deserve compensation for your medical bills, car repairs, time spent off work, and pain and suffering. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact a personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation.