Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

Over $400 Million worth of case results

Awarded The Best Lawyer in 2024 by U.S. News

Nationally Recognized in Legal Community


Every year, millions of people are injured in car accidents. While some of these collisions are unavoidable, many are caused by preventable factors.

Although there are many different types of car accidents, some of the most common causes include distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, a personal injury law firm, has compiled a list of the most common causes of car accidents. Knowing what these are can help you be more aware of the potential risks while driving and avoid them.

To learn more about the legal process, contact the Chicago car accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757, or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation today.

Causes of Car Accidents

The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) [1], nearly 6 million car accidents are reported in the United States every year. Over 3 million people are injured, and almost 40,000 people are killed.

The statistics are staggering, but what’s even more frightening is that one could have avoided many of these traffic accidents. The NHTSA reports that human error is a factor in 94% of fatal car accidents.

The good news is that by becoming aware of the most common causes of car accidents, you can take measures to avoid them. The causes of traffic accidents can be divided into two main categories:

Other than that, there are many different reasons for most traffic accidents. Let’s explore one by one to have a clear understanding.

Distracted Driving

One of the most common causes of car accidents is distracted driving. It includes texting, talking on the phone, eating, and even changing the radio station. These activities take your focus off of the road and can lead to disaster.

In fact, according to the National Safety Council, distracted driving is responsible for around 1.6 million car accidents every year.

Texting is perhaps the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it takes the drivers’ eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off of driving. If you must text while driving, pull over to a safe location first.

These are some of the most typical causes of car driver distractions:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Daydreaming
  • Fidgeting with controls
  • GPS navigation
  • Rubbernecking (looking at traffic accidents or other roadside events)

Studies have shown that drivers who are engaged in multiple activities at once, such as texting and driving, are more likely to get into a car accident and are also more likely to cause a severe or fatal accident.

Be aware of the risks of a distracted driving car accident and drive safely.

Drowsy Driving

One of the common causes of a car accident is drowsy driving. It is widespread among truck drivers who often drive for long periods without taking a break.

It is extremely dangerous because it leads to slowed reaction times, impaired judgment, and even falling asleep at the wheel. According to the National Sleep Foundation, drivers who fall asleep are responsible for around 100,000 road accidents.

If you feel drowsy while driving, pull over to a safe location and take a nap. It is better to arrive late than not at all. Some other things you can do to avoid a motor vehicle accident are:

  • Get a good night’s sleep before driving
  • Avoid drinking caffeine before driving
  • Take a break every two hours to get out and move around
  • Do not drive long distances at night

Drowsy Signs That Can Lead To A Car Collision Are:

  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Driver fatigue
  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Feeling restless and irritable
  • Have trouble keeping your eyes open
  • Trouble focusing
  • Memory lapses

Drivers who have undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders are exceptionally high risk for a car accident. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about possible treatments.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that the percentage of car accidents caused by sleepy drivers is highest between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Because of this, it is essential to avoid driving during these hours if possible.

Reckless Driving

Driving recklessly is another major cause of car accidents and includes speeding, impairment, aggressive driving, and street racing.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reckless drivers are responsible for around 10,000 deaths each year.

Speeding is one of the most common types of reckless driving and is responsible for around a third of all traffic fatalities. If you see aggressive drivers, do not try to confront them. Instead, call the police and let them handle it.

Aggressive driving is also a form of dangerous driving. It includes tailgating, honking the horn, and yelling at other drivers. Aggressive driving can lead to road rage and can be extremely dangerous.

We can define aggressive driving as any driving that endangers the safety of others. It can include speeding, driving under the influence, or street racing.

Some other types of reckless crashes are:

  • Racing
  • Jamming on the brakes
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Switching lanes without signaling

Reckless driving can lead to severe accidents and even fatalities. Drivers who engage in this behavior are putting themselves at risk and endangering the lives of others. If you see someone driving recklessly, do not try to confront them. Instead, call the police and let them handle it.

Bad Weather

Bad weather is another common cause of car accidents. It can include things like rain, sleet, snow, and ice. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), poor weather is responsible for around 1,500 deaths each year.

One of the biggest dangers of driving in poor weather is losing control of your vehicle and poor visibility. If you drive too fast for the conditions or your tires are not appropriate for the weather, an accident can happen.

Bad weather involves anything from rain to sleet to snow and ice. It can make the roads slick and dangerous, so it’s essential to take extra care when driving in these conditions.

Some tips for driving in a bad climate are:

  • Reduce your speed
  • Increase your following distance
  • Use your headlights
  • Don’t use cruise control
  • Beware of black ice

The slippery roads and decreased visibility can make driving in poor weather hazardous. These accidents are not human errors, but they are weather-related. The slick roads car accidents also have about 1500 people each year.


Speeding is another leading cause of car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is responsible for around 9,000 deaths each year.

Driving too fast is one of the leading causes of car accidents. The speed limit is in place for a reason, and it is important to obey it at all times. Speeding can lead to accidents, fines, points on your license, and even jail time.

Speeding is most common in young male drivers and is the cause of about one-third of all vehicle fatalities. These drivers run a substantially higher risk of getting into an accident than other drivers.

The posted speed limit is in place for safety, so it is important to obey it. Speeding well over the limit and aggressive behaviors behind the wheel can prompt unthinkable wrecks.

The posted speed limit is the maximum speed you should be driving. Going over the limit can cause you to lose control of your car and lead to other dangerous behavior. You’ll likely face fines when caught speeding, points on your license, and even jail time.

You can avoid most speeding tickets by obeying the speed limit, driving the right speed for the conditions, and using common sense. If you’re not sure what the speed limit is, use a speedometer app or look for traffic signs along the road.

Running Red Lights

Driving through red lights is another common cause of car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is responsible for around 2,000 deaths each year.

If you are caught running a red light, you can face fines, points on your license, and even jail time. It is essential to obey all traffic laws to avoid accidents and penalties.

Drivers often run red lights because they are in a hurry or don’t see the light. When approaching a red light, always come to a complete stop before proceeding after the light changes. Don’t try to run the light if you think you can make it through.

You should also be aware of pedestrian traffic when approaching a red light. If people are crossing the street, wait until they are clear before proceeding. It is not only illegal, but it’s also dangerous.

Running Stop Signs

Running stop signs cause around 700 deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Stop sign accidents are often caused by drivers who hurry or don’t see the stop sign. They can also be caused by drivers who are unfamiliar with the area. Many car accidents occur when drivers try to speed through stop signs.

When you approach a stop sign, come to a complete stop and look both ways before proceeding. Make sure there is no traffic coming before you enter the intersection. If there is a lot of traffic, it may be safer to wait than to try and cross.

Stop sign car accident results in serious injuries such as:

  • Head injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

To avoid these accidents, always come to a complete stop at stop signs and look both ways before proceeding.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Consuming alcohol or drugs impairs your drive and can lead to drunk driving traffic accidents.

The vehicle fatalities caused by drunk driving or alcohol account for about one-third of all traffic fatalities. In addition, it is responsible for almost one million severe injuries each year.

When you drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are putting yourself at risk, but you are also putting others at risk. Alcoholic drivers lose control and result in fatal car accidents.

On average, 12.3% of the many drivers involved in fatal crashes were found to have either too much alcohol or drugs in their blood to be driving legally.

It is essential to always drive sober. If you have been drinking, use a designated driver or take a taxi. If you take medication, make sure you know how it will affect your driving ability.

Wrong-Way Driving

Driving the wrong way is another leading cause of car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wrong-way car driving causes 300 deaths annually.

When you drive the wrong way on a highway, you are putting yourself and others at risk. You can easily collide with oncoming traffic or run off the road.

To avoid these road accidents, always pay attention to the signs and ensure you are driving in the correct lane. Drive in a proper right of way. Do not pass other vehicles on the shoulder.

Tire Blowouts

Tire blowouts are another common cause of car accidents. A tire blowout can occur when the tread on the tire wears down or when there is a leak in the tire.

When a tire blows out, the driver often loses control of the car. The car can veer off the road or hit other vehicles.

To avoid tire blowouts, check your tires regularly for wear and tear. Ensure the tread is not too worn and there are no leaks. If you hit a pothole or curb, inspect your tires for damage.

Animal Crossings

Animals crossing the roads is a common cause of car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), animal crossroad accidents account for nearly 1,500 fatalities annually.

When you see an animal crossing sign, be prepared to stop. Animals can quickly dart out into the road and cause an accident. The driver behind the wheel will not react in time and will swerve or brake suddenly.

To avoid these accidents, always obey the crossroad signs and be prepared to stop. If you see an animal on the side of the road, do not try to pass it. Instead, slow down and wait for it to cross.

Improper Turns

Improper turns are another common cause of auto accidents. When you make a wrong turn, you are not following the law, putting yourself and others at risk.

An improper turn can occur when a driver makes a turn from the wrong lane or when they do not obey their traffic signals. Motor vehicle accidents account for more than 33% of total traffic fatalities in the United States.

When drivers fail to yield, even when they have the right of way, the potential for collision increases. To avoid improper turns, always use your turn signals when making a turn and make sure you are in the correct lane.

Road Rage

Road rage driving is a leading cause of car accidents. Road rage is when a driver behind the wheel gets angry and aggressive while driving. It can lead to dangerous and even fatal accidents.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of car accident death for teens in the United States and significantly contribute to these accidents.

To avoid road rage, always stay calm while driving. If someone cuts you off or tailgates you, do not retaliate. Ignore the other driver behind the wheel and focus on getting to your destination safely.

Street Racing

Street racing is another leading cause of car accidents. Street racing occurs when drivers race their motor vehicles on public streets, leading to dangerous accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), street racing is responsible for more than 1,000 fatalities annually.

When drivers race their cars, they often drive at excessive speeds and weave in and out of traffic. It can easily lead to an accident.

Do not race your car on city streets to avoid street racing accidents. If you see someone street racing, do not try to join in. Call the police and report the incident.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for Financial Compensation

An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to deal with insurance companies and fight for your best interests. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is a leading personal injury law firm with an office in Chicago offering free consultation.

Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with car accident cases and will fight for the best possible outcome for you. Your case will be handled by a team of experienced lawyers and investigators.

Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in car accident cases. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, call us today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.

Resources: [1] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
Free Consultation (888) 424-5757