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Causes of Car Accidents

As our population increases and more drivers take to the roads, the number of serious auto accidents is only slated to grow. New technologies, including cruise control, lane assist, and automatic braking, give many motorists a false sense of confidence.

It is essential for anyone who slides behind the wheel to understand the most leading causes of car accidents and how best to avoid them.

The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understand how devastating a car accident can be and the impact it can have on the rest of your life.

Our car accident lawyers handle accident claims and wrongful death lawsuits related to all types of traffic accidents. If you or a loved one were in a car accident, contact us today to discuss your case to ensure you receive the adequate financial compensation you deserve.

Causes of Car Accidents

Traffic Accidents Have a Multitude of Causes

The average driver cannot appreciate just how dangerous it is to operate a motor vehicle. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles reach incredible speeds and harm passengers when colliding with other vehicles or objects.

Weather, road conditions, reckless driving by other people, and driver mistakes all contribute to fatal crashes. It is essential to know how all these hazards impact your safety and what you can do to reduce your risks.

Common causes of car accidents can be categorized into mechanical issues, driver error, inclement weather, and human-made roadway hazards. Multiple factors may influence a wreck's cause, so reconstructing the accident and determining all contributing factors is essential when recovering monetary compensation for injuries.

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Mechanical Failure and Defective Design

Auto manufacturers and parts suppliers may be held accountable when their products do not work as intended or when a poor product design causes a failure that leads to an accident. Automotive recalls have made the headlines consistently in recent years due to the numerous flaws and defects discovered in vital automotive systems.

It is also the motorists' responsibility to properly maintain their vehicles to reduce the potential of mechanical failure. Many lives are lost or changed forever in catastrophic car crashes due to the failure of these parts.

Examples include the following.

  • Steering and suspension system failures — The loss of steering control can be devastating as the affected vehicle's driver suddenly loses control. A system failure can result in single-vehicle accidents when the vehicle strikes an object or building or multi-vehicle crashes when the car travels into oncoming traffic or across multiple lanes.
  • Tire and brake failures — The tires are the only part of your vehicle to touch the ground, so your tires must have a firm grip on the pavement. Poorly inflated tires can lose traction, and tire defects can often cause a blow out without notice, forcing the driver to take evasive action to avoid an accident. Maintaining your brakes is just as crucial as a defect in the brake line system or worn brake pads can inhibit your ability to stop.
  • Lighting system failures — Visibility is crucial during adverse weather conditions. The driver is responsible for ensuring that their lights are in working order whenever hitting the road. Unfortunately for many motorists, realizing that the hazard lights or headlights are not working correctly usually presents itself during a storm. Under these conditions, other vehicles are more likely to collide with yours when you cannot alert others to your presence.

Car Accident Causes

Driver Error

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many factors contribute to driver error, but most of them can be tied to poor decision making. Our Chicago auto accident attorneys believe that every action you make behind the wheel can increase or reduce the potential of being involved in an accident.

Still, sometimes you are placed at risk entirely due to another person's actions, which are entirely beyond your control.

The leading causes of driver error include, but are not limited to:

  • Speeding and tailgating — These errors are related to a driver's impatience, who act more aggressive when in a hurry to get to their destinations. Studies have shown that excessive speeds are a significant factor in the severity of accidental injury or fatalities. Speeding doesn't get motorists to their destinations much faster either, as traveling an extra 10-20 mph faster may only shave several minutes off of a local trip.
  • Driver distraction — Technology has allowed many motorists to grow complacent by providing a false sense of security. While it is true that new protective technologies may reduce the severity of accidents, the connective technologies offered in many new vehicles also add new ways to draw drivers' attention away from the road, reducing their ability to stop or avoid a crash. Most reported traffic accidents in recent years had involved some degree of driver distraction.
  • Drunk driving — Despite public awareness campaigns spanning decades that have attempted to deter DUI, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol drunk driving continues to be a cause of injury and death. Nearly one in every three auto-related fatalities is linked to the use of excessive alcohol. Victims and surviving family members can pursue justice against the drunk driver over the legal limit of intoxication, who placed others at risk due to such a careless personal decision.
  • Aggressive driving – Many car accidents involving severe injuries and traffic fatalities result from aggressive behavior from people driving recklessly to harm others.
  • Driver fatigue – Driving to the point of exhaustion can cause drowsy driving fatal crashes, especially when the motorist is traveling at high speeds. Many serious car accidents are caused by slow reaction time.
  • Failure to see others on the roadway — Many car accidents occur when people don't check their blind spot or fail to see another vehicle that has the right of way. Visual impairment while driving is also a contributing factor in motorcycle and pedestrian accidents that occur at night or during adverse weather conditions.

The Impact of Weather Conditions on Roadway Safety

Our Chicago auto injury lawyers know the importance of drivers using caution during adverse climate conditions. The weather can play a large role in car accidents by increasing stopping distances, making it more difficult to identify hazards and affect drivers' ability to operate vehicles safely.

The most common driving hazards that influence car accidents include the following.

  • Heavy fog — The presence of fog significantly reduces your driving visibility, and many fog-related car accidents result from the combination of poor visibility and speeds that are excessive for conditions. When you are driving through fog, reducing your speed might save your life.
  • Ice and snow — In addition to increasing the stopping distance of vehicles on the road, snow and ice can impact the ability to maintain directional control. Bridges and elevated roads are more likely to be covered in ice, so it is essential to approach these roads with extra caution.
  • Rain and flooding — Most drivers don't appreciate just how hazardous rain can be. In addition to making roads slippery, it reduces visibility when driving and can challenge some drivers who have difficulty seeing well in nighttime conditions. Excessive rain can also flood the roads, causing vehicles to hydroplane or kick water onto others' windshields.
  • Morning and evening glare — A perfect sunny day can also be considered a driving hazard when motorists look into the sun during their morning or evening commute. Many accidents result from drivers failing to see what is right in front of them because the sun blinds or distracts them.

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Human-made Roadway Hazards

There are occasions when the roads or environment become hazardous to drivers, including road construction, local governments' failure to maintain their roads, poorly designed intersections, malfunctioning traffic control devices, and more.

Some of the most common human-made hazards include the following.

  • Roads with inaccurate or incorrect signage — Failing to display the correct signage for construction zones or mark one-way streets can influence the driver's behavior and place construction workers and travelers in unsafe and fatal positions.
  • Malfunctioning traffic lights — Some accidents at intersections occur when the light is out or malfunctioning. Heavy traffic traveling through a malfunctioning light only increases the risk that drivers will collide with one another.
  • Heavy construction equipmentConstruction zones are dangerous for passing motorists and workers repairing the roads. If machine operators back into the path of traffic, serious injuries can result.
  • Poorly maintained roads — Roads riddled with potholes and uneven pavement caused by neglect can increase the potential for accidents. Many of these potentially fatal accidents result when the roadway hazard causes a vehicle mechanical failure, such as when a pothole blows out an unsuspecting driver's tire.

The many hazards on our roads and the volume of traffic and number of vehicles on the roads make car accidents inevitable for many drivers. Even the most skilled drivers can be involved in a fatal wreck with another motorist, despite taking every recommended step to drive cautiously.

Appreciating potential risks is required to help keep the roads safe. That said, the introduction of new safety technologies has made many more drivers complacent.

Auto Accident Causes

Car Accident Causes FAQs

What are the Common Causes of Road Accidents?

Car crashes are often caused by drunk driving, speeding, and running a red light. Other leading factors causing crashes involve distracted driving, running red lights, talking on a cell phone, not wearing a seat belt, failing to make safe lane changes, and drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel.

Commercial vehicle accidents are often caused by failing to take appropriate measures when passing a car or truck. Many motorcycle crashes are caused by not wearing a helmet or protective gear.

How Can Road Accidents Be Prevented?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), preventing a vehicle accident requires attentiveness and defensive driving. Driving at or below the speed limit and maintaining a safe distance between vehicles could prevent nearly all crashes on city streets and highways.

Common causes of car accidents with severe injury and fatalities include distracted driving, excessive speed, cell phone use, drug or alcohol impairment, driving through stop signs/lights.

What are the 3 Factors That Cause Accidents?

Certain factors lead to most vehicle crashes, including human error, inclement weather, and bad road conditions. Other factors include malfunctioning vehicle components, a lack of maintenance, faulty tires, and poor driving habits.

Why is Rubbernecking Dangerous?

Rubbernecking, or slowing down to see what is going on with a car accident or other scenario, causes accidents, injuries, and death. Stopping to see what is going on could place you, your passengers, and other motorists in harm's way and increase the likelihood of being involved in an accident.

Law enforcement considers rubbernecking to be a negligent act, meaning the motorists slowing down to see what is happening could be held legally liable if they cause an accident. Rubbernecking is considered a deficient human trait spurred on by our desire to fulfill our morbid curiosity.

What are the Contributing Factors of Accidents?

Most automobile crashes in the United States are caused by contributing factors, including distracted driving, drunk driving, failing to maintain the speed limit, inclement weather, and defective roadway surfaces.

Other contributing factors of crashes include failing to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists, not following traffic rules, and driving long hours without taking a break (fatigue).

Which is the Most Common Form of Road Rage?

Reckless behavior is a violation of traffic laws that can place other motorists and passengers in grave danger. Road rage can involve intentional tailgating and attempting to cut other cars or trucks off on purpose.

Some disgruntled motorists use reckless behavior by honking their horns, yelling at other motorists, or attempt to block others from changing lanes to show their irritation and frustration.

Car Accident Cause

Hiring a Car Accident Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney

The Chicago car accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believe that the only way to make the roads safer is to hold all drivers responsible for doing their part. When their reckless or irresponsible behavior threatens others' safety, they should be held liable for the consequences.

If you, or a loved one, were injured in an auto accident, contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. We will collect the information we need to work on your behalf and cover all your legal options with you during a risk-free consultation.

We are paid only after we collect compensation on your behalf. Otherwise, our services are free of charge. Our personal injury lawyers follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Causes of Car Accident Resources:


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