Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

Driving a car is an everyday activity for most Americans. While it often seems routine, operating a vehicle is actually incredibly dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021 alone. Understanding the most common causes of car accidents can help drivers stay alert and avoid hazardous situations.


Speeding is one of the leading contributors to car crashes in the United States. When drivers exceed posted speed limits or drive too fast for conditions, they have less time to react to unexpected obstacles and lose control more easily. In 2020, speeding-related crashes accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities, with 11,258 deaths reported, according to NHTSA data. This trend continued into 2021, when speeding-related fatalities increased by 8%, resulting in 12,330 people killed in such accidents.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving remains a major problem on American roads, leading to thousands of avoidable deaths each year. In 2022, there were 13,524 deaths from drunk-driving crashes, according to the NHTSA. This represents about 32% of all traffic crash fatalities in the country for that year.

Drinking alcohol negatively affects coordination, reflexes, judgment, and other skills necessary for safe driving. Even with blood alcohol levels under the legal limit, alcohol can slow reaction times and impair focus. Drunk drivers are more likely to swerve, make errors, and become involved in high-speed collisions.

Running Red Lights

Intersections require heightened attention, especially when traffic lights are involved. In 2022, there were 1,149 deaths reported in crashes that involved red light running according to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Drivers sometimes speed up on yellow lights or speed through red lights in an attempt to save time. This reckless maneuver often has devastating consequences. Vehicles entering the intersection legally can collide at high velocity with red light runners. The IIHS found that most deaths in these types of crashes are individuals obeying the traffic signals.

Staying Alert

While speeding, drunk driving, and red light running are among the most deadly driving behaviors, they are not the only causes of accidents. More mundane issues like distraction, drowsiness, improper turns, and tailgating are also major factors. Defensive driving requires anticipating potential obstacles and being ready to respond. Staying alert to your surroundings, obeying traffic laws, and avoiding risky behaviors will go a long way toward accident prevention.

If you are ever involved in a car crash, contacting an experienced car accident attorney can help you understand your legal options. An attorney at Kenny Habetz Injury Law can handle insurance claims on your behalf and make sure you receive full and fair compensation if another driver is at fault. While monetary settlements cannot erase injuries, they can ease financial burdens so you can focus on recovery.

Staying aware on the road and driving responsibly is the best method for avoiding accidents altogether. However, when a collision does occur, consulting a qualified lawyer can help you take the necessary legal steps to gain compensation and justice. With knowledge of common accident causes and the expertise of an attorney on your side, you can navigate the roadways with greater confidence.

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