Common Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents often occur in the blink of an eye and with little warning. Many times, drivers may struggle to prevent or avoid such accidents. Some factors contribute to car accidents more often than others. Below we discuss some of the most common contributing factors.
In poor weather, accident risk increases substantially.Poor weather can cause decreased visibility, increased stopping distance, and lane obstructions due to debris blowing into the road. In rainy or icy conditions, roads may lose friction, making it more difficult for drivers to maneuver or stop. Not only that, bad weather may increase the distractions for drivers as they look around for hazards or struggle to pay attention to traffic and the road.
Teen drivers are involved in more than 8 percent of all accidents across the United States, though they represent only 6.5 percent of the population. Even responsible teen drivers lack the experience to know exactly how to respond behind the wheel. They may struggle more with distraction than other drivers or lack the skills needed to respond to poor weather conditions. Unfortunately, teen drivers may also take more risks than adult drivers.
Distracted driving can cause even the most experienced driver to lose track of what happens on the road around them, significantly increasing the risk of an accident. Most commonly, people who think of distracted driving imagine other drivers using their cell phones behind the wheel. Distraction, however, can take many forms, including:
- Adjusting the radio while driving. Many drivers take their eyes off of the road to manipulate their radio, from changing stations to adjusting the volume.
- Eating or drinking in the car. Taking a sip out of a cup with a straw usually won’t cause significant distraction. Trying to raise a cup to get the last sip of a drink out, on the other hand, may substantially hinder visibility and take the driver’s attention off the road. Messy foods present an even bigger problem for many drivers, especially those spending a long time in the car. Food can pose increased distraction and can make it difficult to concentrate on the road.
- Programming a GPS. GPS devices allow many people to reach their destinations more efficiently, preventing them from getting lost and making it easier to find unfamiliar locations. Drivers, however, should always program their GPS devices before leaving their point of origin. If the GPS must be reprogrammed while driving, drivers should pull off of the road to avoid distraction and decrease the chances of injury.
- Dealing with passengers in the vehicle. Children, in particular, often pose potent distractions for adult drivers. Drivers who grow too engaged in a conversation may also experience heightened levels of distraction.
Driving Under the Influence
Both drugs and alcohol can substantially impact a driver’s ability to safely operate a car. Drugs and alcohol can cause slowed reaction times, increased distraction, or a stronger tendency toward reckless driving. Even prescription medications can create a significant impact on many drivers. Driving under the influence, including driving under the influence of prescription medications, remains illegal in every state.
Reckless Driving Behavior
Following traffic laws often increases frustration for many drivers when they need to get somewhere fast. Unfortunately, failing to follow those traffic laws can substantially increase the risk of an accident. Reckless driving makes it difficult for other drivers to predict a car’s actions on the road, especially if they expect the other driver to behave normally. Reckless driving may also make it more difficult for the reckless driver to control his or her vehicle. Reckless driving can include:
- Speeding, especially excessive speeding
- Running red lights
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Running stop signs
Reckless driving often stems from road rage. The inappropriate actions of one driver do not justify the inappropriate actions of another, especially since road rage can significantly decrease driver judgment and elevate the risk of an accident.
Many people ignore the hazards of drowsy driving on a regular basis. They drive tired: getting up too early in the morning after too little sleep, for example, or trying to drive home even when they are exhausted and should not get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, drowsy driving presents just as many dangers as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving distracted. Drowsy drivers may struggle to keep their eyes open, drifting off the road or even falling asleep altogether and running into another vehicle. Drowsy drivers may also struggle with slowed reaction times or difficulty making decisions behind the wheel.
Sometimes, roads contain their own hazards that can increase the risk of an accident. Construction and road work may increase accident risk substantially, since construction workers may block lanes or create unsafe configurations that drivers must maneuver through to get to work. Other times, dangers in the road, including large potholes or unsafe turns, can increase the potential for accidents to occur. Improperly graded roads may also have more accidents than roads that follow the curve of the land.
Trouble With the Vehicle
Drivers rely on their vehicles to carry them safely from one location to another. When those vehicles are improperly maintained or break down, however, accidents can occur. Drivers should maintain their vehicles regularly, including replacing tires as needed and changing the oil. Sometimes, vehicle manufacturers may let vehicles out of their factories with errors or improper construction that can cause increased accidents. Cars that stop in the middle of the road, improperly inflated tires, and cars with mechanical or engine damage may create increased accident risk, not only for the driver of that vehicle, but also for others around them.
You Need a Lawyer After Your Car Accident
Regardless of the cause of your car accident, you may need legal help to navigate the system following an accident. Working with a lawyer can help you identify who caused your accident, what other factors contributed to it, and whether you are due compensation for your injuries. If you need legal help, call Hasner Law in Atlanta today at 678-888-HURT (4878), or contact us online. Our dedicated team of lawyers will work with you to give you the help you need.