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What Is the Main Cause of Car Accidents?

The main causes of car accidents depend on multiple factors, like the time period in question, the geographic area, the demographics of the drivers, and other variables. Some causes surpass all situational differences however and can occur anywhere—to anyone.

Speeding Causes Many Crashes

Speeding leads to many car accidents because the driver might not be able to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision. Also, they might lose control of their vehicle. Large trucks can jackknife or fishtail if the trucker slams on the brakes, for instance.

A person does not have to drive faster than the posted speed limit to be speeding. When one drives too fast for the conditions, it can be speeding. Factors like slick roads, heavy traffic, and lack of light during the nighttime can require a person to slow down to be safe.

Alcohol Use Can Reduce a Person’s Functions

Driving while under the influence of alcohol causes a significant number of preventable crashes every year. Alcohol can slow a person’s reflexes and affect their ability to notice and process information essential to driving. The driver can fall asleep or pass out at the wheel, veer out of their lane into oncoming or nearby vehicles, or take inappropriate risks.

Distractions of All Kinds Can Cause a Crash

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wrote in a 2016 report on fatal traffic crash data that distracted driving contributes to a large segment of motor vehicle crashes in America. Many people blame cell phones—and rightly so, as texting or talking on the phone while driving are extraordinarily dangerous activities.

Other behaviors can constitute distracted driving as well, like:

  • Changing the radio station
  • Checking a navigation app
  • Turning on the air conditioning
  • Picking up a dropped item from the floorboards
  • Eating or drinking at the wheel

Also, when the driver turns their head toward a passenger while talking instead of keeping their eyes forward, they can get distracted from the process of operating the motor vehicle.

Drowsy Driving Can Make for a Dangerous Situation

When a person is fatigued, they could fall asleep at the wheel, veer into another lane, run off the road, or suffer slowed reflexes and processing ability. Drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving in how it affects the driver.

These things can cause a person to be drowsy while driving:

  • Having young or sick children who wake you up at night
  • Serving as a caregiver for a loved one
  • Working multiple jobs or being a working student
  • Recent shift changes or seasonal time changes

These are but a few examples of factors that can lead to drowsy driving.

Accidents Happen When Drivers Ignore the Weather or Road Conditions

People should slow down or stay off the roads (if possible) when rain or snow make the streets treacherous. Certain types of weather—like heavy rain—can obscure the vision and make driving hazardous. Road and weather conditions can cause drivers to need more time and space between vehicles, so they can decelerate safely and avoid crashes.

Reckless Driving Puts Lives at Risk

This category can encompass a variety of driving behaviors, including some already mentioned in this article. In addition to speeding, driving while under the influence of alcohol, and texting while behind the wheel, reckless driving can include things like:

  • Street racing
  • Road rage
  • Frequent lane changes
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Tailgating
  • Trying to intimidate other drivers
  • Trying to scare pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists

The Silver Lining Is That Fewer Fatalities Are Occurring

While the information about car accidents might seem grim, there is good news. Over the last 20 years, the number of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents has decreased significantly. The NHTSA reports the statistics on these crashes using information from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The most recent FARS Encyclopedia report contains data for the year 2018.

In 2018, there were 33,654 fatal motor vehicle accidents in America. These crashes claimed the lives of 36,560 people. The same FARS report showed that 20 years earlier, in 1998, there were 37,107 fatal car wrecks that killed 41,501 people. These numbers represent a 12 percent decrease in fatalities during the past 20 years.

How to Get Legal Help After a Car Accident

No matter what the main cause of a car accident was, if you or a loved one were injured because of someone else’s carelessness, The Cochran Firm - Nashville can help determine whether you can go after compensation for your losses.

Depending on the facts of your situation, you may be able to recover money damages to cover losses like your medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. We want to talk with you and investigate your case to determine your potential compensation.

For a free case review, call us today at 615-678-6278.

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