Thousands of people have car accidents, and, unfortunately, many of them are seriously hurt or killed. It happens more often than you would think – in the United States alone, a car accident occurs every 13 minutes. From these accidents, about 4.8 million people suffer “medically consulted injuries,” according to the National Safety Council. Learning the common causes of collisions may help you protect yourself and your loved ones.
In May 2022, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated approximately 43,000 people died in car crashes in 2021. While final totals have not yet been calculated, the first nine months of 2021 showed a 12% increase in fatalities over 2020. Every one of these accidents is tragic for the victim and the families they have left behind.
With these kinds of numbers, everyone is at risk. It is important for all motorists and passengers to know what causes car accidents so they can avoid these dangers and become a statistic. If you, or a loved one, is a victim of a motor vehicle crash, a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer can help. Insurance companies rarely ever advocate for the victims of car accidents. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Car accident victims should always get professional medical treatment and then contact a car accident attorney. The compassionate and caring personal injury attorneys at Steven M. Oser, P.C. law firm, want to help. Call them today for a free consultation at (757) 539-4127.
What is the Most Common Cause of Car Collisions?
The most common cause of collisions is distracted driving. It has always been a road hazard for people on the road, but since the widespread use of smartphones, these statistics seem to increase every year. The NHTSA reports that 8% of fatalities and 14% of injuries are due to crashes involving a distracted driver. In 2020, 3,142 people died, and approximately 324,652 were injured in distracted driving accidents.
Sadly, most collisions caused by distracted driving are completely preventable. Common behaviors that lead to distracted driving car crashes include but are not limited to the following:
- Mobile use, including texting, talking, or web surfing
- GPS navigation while driving
- Eating and drinking
- Changing radio stations
- Adjusting climate control
- Applying makeup or shaving
- “Zoning” out while driving
Distracted driving has become so widespread a problem that it is considered to be a significant public health issue in the U.S. When it occurs, drivers experience reduced reaction time, shift cars into other lanes, or, absent mindlessly run into other motor vehicles, causing not just auto accidents, but motorcycle accidents and truck accidents as well.
What is the Number 2 Cause of Car Crashes?
When considering the common causes of collisions, drunk or otherwise impaired driving is also close to the top of the list. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drunk driving contributed to more than 10,000 car accident fatalities per year in 2020; in 2021, the NTHSA reported this number surpassed 11,600. Every day, 32 people die from DUI accidents. That is one every 45 minutes.
This does not even take into consideration the injuries or other life-altering events that occur when someone negligently gets behind the wheel when they are impaired. DUI-related accidents are another type of public health concern. Drunk and drugged driving accidents are 100% preventable, and drivers should be held responsible for their unlawful and negligent behavior.
What are the Other Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Most collisions are caused by preventable behaviors, but there are other causes as well. For instance, common causes of collisions also include:
Poor weather conditions, such as rain, ice, snow, wind, and fog, often are one of the most common causes of collisions. Drivers who do not exercise extra caution to avoid accidents when driving in poor weather can directly cause injury or death. Car accident victims should never assume a driver is not to blame when poor weather conditions were present; the other driver may have been negligent and not exercised caution. Or, those responsible for road maintenance may have been negligent (e.g., failing to place salt, plow, or signage to warn motorists of impending hazards). An experienced accident attorney can best determine if another party was at fault.
Moving Traffic Violations
Traffic violations are another unfortunate cause of motor vehicle accidents, and these are 100% preventable. Traffic laws are in place for a good reason, and those drivers who cause accidents due to disobedience of these laws are negligent and to blame for the many deaths and injuries they cause each year. Top violations drivers commit include:
- Speeding and disobeying speed limits
- Running red lights (and/or yellow lights)
- Blowing through stop signs (including “rolling stops”)
- Making improper turns
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Failing to signal
- Running through intersections
Drivers who intentionally do not follow road safety rules and laws can and should be held accountable for their actions when they cause injury and suffering.
Reckless Driving, Tailgating, and Road Rage
Motorists who exhibit driving behavior that acts recklessly, including speeding, tailgating, or road raging, are also leading causes of car accidents. Impatient drivers frustrated with traffic, being late, or other factors may take it out on others through aggressive driving. They may weave in and out of traffic (“leapfrogging”) or not give other drivers enough space to safely operate their vehicles.
Essentially, reckless drivers who allow emotions to override good judgment should be held accountable for those bad decisions that cause harm to other people on the road.
Sometimes, road conditions that present hazards can often lead to vehicle collisions, especially if a driver does not allow themselves enough time to react to avoid a crash or those responsible for maintaining roadways are negligent in either marking hazards or clearing them from the road. Common hazards found on roadways that frequently lead to traffic accidents include:
- Debris on road
- Crumbling road shoulders
- Road surface changes
- Slick roads from spills
- Tree limbs or similar debris
These conditions, along with other types of visual obstructions or lack of signage, can lead to harm for others approaching hazards.
On average, most adults do not get the recommended hours of sleep each night. As a result, drive fatigued. Drowsy driving, especially during long or arduous commutes, increases the chances of an accident occurring. People driving drowsy often exhibit similar behaviors to those driving drunk.
Unfortunately, car design defects emerge from time to time. Whether caused by fundamental design flaws, lack of proper safety checks during production, or less than rigorous testing due to a rush to get vehicles on the market, car defects can cause injuries and cost lives. Victims injured in accidents caused by defective vehicles can hold manufacturers responsible for their negligence.
What are the Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?
The causes of car accidents are many and, tragically, cause many common injuries, some more serious than others.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBIs, including concussions, are serious injuries that commonly occur in car accidents. Unlike other types of injuries, when brain cells are damaged, they do not regenerate like other body cells. Those suffering from traumatic brain injury are never exactly the same as they were before.
Many people can and do recover, but others suffer permanent extensive pain suffering depending upon which areas of the brain are injured. Victims suffering from TBIs are also hard to diagnose since symptoms can emerge months after an accident— in children, it could be years.
Back, Neck, and Spinal Cord Injuries
Another serious type of injury, these too are common in car accidents. Types of injuries include whiplash, spinal cord damage, various spine injuries, sprains and strains, herniated discs, soft tissue injuries, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, muscle spasms, and nerve damage. Some injuries lead to degenerative conditions in the body, causing victims ongoing or permanent pain.
Fractures and Broken Bones
Fractures and broken bones, along with soft tissue injuries surrounding the wounds, are other leading injuries that occur in auto collisions. Hands, legs, face, breastbone, back, necks, clavicle, pelvic, and skull bones are commonly fractured or injured on impact.
Lacerations and Bruises
Car accident victims often suffer lacerations and significant bruises on their faces and essentially any other areas of the body. Broken glass, flying objects, and other impact-related injuries can cause severe wounds to drivers and passengers in cars.
Other injuries victims suffer include nerve, muscle, and tissue damage, internal organ damage, disfigurement, paralysis, and burns.
How Do You Avoid Getting Into a Collision?
Accidents are a risk that everyone on the road faces, and no one can 100% avoid the threat of an accident, but prevention can go a long way towards safeguarding yourself and your loved ones.
- Practice responsible driving
- Leave cell phones out of sight
- Take a defensive driving course
- Understand traffic laws and obey them
- Always wear a seat safety belt
- Do not drink or use drugs (even prescriptions that have similar effects) before driving
- Beware of weather conditions and drive carefully
- Have vehicles routinely inspected
The bottom line is that people who drive smartly, strategically and avoid situations that can lead to an accident improve their chances of avoiding injury while on the road.
Call a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Today
As a committed Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer since 1989, Attorney Steven Oser has dedicated himself to protecting the rights of accident victims and their family members. He understands the challenges his clients face in the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision and promises to work hard to lessen the burdens his clients face to allow them to obtain justice, closure, and enough compensation to help cover the many expenses they face after suffering a car crash. If you, or a family member, were injured in a motor vehicle collision, speak to the law office of Steven Oser to obtain a free case evaluation. Call his law firm at (757) 539-4127 or complete their online contact form. A member of his legal team will get back to you right away.