The Primary Causes of Car Accidents

This article shares the top causes of car accidents so you can better protect yourself from being involved in a car accident.


Top Causes of Car Accidents

From experience, we have observed that there are three primary causes of car and truck accidents. These top three causes are as follows:

1. SPEED. In my experience speed has been the number one cause of accidents. The typical car or truck accident involves a person driving a vehicle at a speed that is too fast for road conditions. What most people seem to forget is that the posted speed limit is for ideal weather and traffic conditions. If the maximum speed posted is 65, it does not mean it is safe or legal to drive 65 all the time.

The driver has to take into consideration the traffic conditions and the weather. Rain, snow, and wind can adversely affect the conditions of the road. Throughout Southern California people seem to forget that rain is dangerous and there are numerous accidents resulting from excess speeds during rains. When the roads are wet vehicles do not stop as quickly, because the brakes and the road simply do not work the same. Water or water mixed with oil also makes the road very slipper and causes drivers to lose control. Puddles of water causes high speed vehicles to hydroplane, and vehicle spin out of control and crashes or sometimes the vehicle rolls over.

Many drivers also like to follow too close for the speed they are driving at. Tailgating is very dangerous, because of the speeds at which drivers are going. Sometimes more than one driver is following too closely for the speed and when there is a need to stop abruptly this results in multiple vehicle collisions.

When drivers are going at excessively high speeds they also have less time to stop at stop signs and lights. Often passing through orange and red lights and sooner or later crashing with another vehicle.

The typical traffic collision report cites driving too fast for road conditions as the cause of the accident.

You can decrease the odds of being involved in a car accident or truck accident by simply taking the actual road conditions into consideration and slowing down. You will have more time to react to a situation if you are driving at a slower pace and avoid collisions. You are also more likely to get around unexpected things on the road, such as the unexpected appliance or piece of furniture, and finally you are less likely to lose control when the weather is bad. Generally speaking driving at excessive speed does not save much time unless the distance is several hundred miles. Most commutes are so short speed does not save you more than 1 to 5 minutes. At 70 miles per hour on a 20 mile commute you will take about 20 minutes to arrive at your destination and at 50 it will take about 25 minutes to arrive at your destination.

2. DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL. This is probably the second biggest cause of car accidents. California has been tough about enforcing its laws around the holidays and has probably cut down the number of DUI related accidents, but these type of accidents continue. For a driver this is the worst type of accident to be involved in, because these accidents usually cause greater harm than other types of accidents.

If an individual is caught driving under the influence of alcohol there are criminal sanctions, more likely than not jail time, more likely than not the loss of the driver's license, fines, and increases in insurance rates. The injury victim also has a substantial advantage in bringing a lawsuit, because jurors have no sympathy for someone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. The victim can also sue for punitive damages which can two to seven times the special and general damages combined. Punitive damages are designed to make an example of the person driving under the influence of alcohol to deter others as well as the culprit from engaging in that type of behavior.

Most DUI accidents occur at night, but some take place during the day time. Generally the owner of the vehicle is the culprit, but in about one fourth of the time the driver is not the owner of the vehicle. What happens in these cases is that the owner of the vehicle becomes liable as well.

Even though many organizations have been promoting the idea that you should not drink and drive, the number of cases I have seen in my firm seems to suggest that DUI cases are still high. Most people involved in DUI accidents regret their actions after the fact and often the experience changes their lives in a negative way. You should never drink and drive and you should be very careful as to who you lend your vehicle to.

3. AGE. The third cause of accidents seems to be age related. As people get older their ability drive and their ability to react declines as well. About 25% of all cases handle by my firm involves an elderly defendant. Most of these accidents involve defendants that fail to yield the right of way when making left hand turns and running stop signs. There is not much that can be done about aging, but once you are in your 70's, you should evaluate your own ability to drive and should consider alternate means of transportation. Driving in your later years when you know you should not be driving puts you in danger of serious injury to yourself as well as other members of your community.

Know Your Rights

Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney as soon as you can after getting in a car accident to ensure your rights are protected. If you are in Sacramento, you may want to contact a lawyer who handles car accident cases in and around Sacramento. Finding a skilled attorney soon after your accident is essential in ensuring you recover for your injuries.