The Top Causes of Accidents in Sacramento and How To Avoid Them

The City of Sacramento is the capital of California and is located in its northern region. It serves as the seat of Sacramento County and is the sixth-largest city in the state. 

In addition, it is one of California’s oldest incorporated communities. The city lies at the center of a four-county metropolitan area, with suburbs including Folsom, Citrus Heights, North Highlands, Elk Grove, and Roseville. Other nearby communities include West Sacramento and Parkway in the south.

Data from the US Census Bureau shows a decrease in California’s population, from 39,142,991 in 2021 to 39,029,342 in 2022. Similarly, the California Department of Finance estimated a drop in Sacramento County’s population

It slid down from 1,585,055 in 2020 to approximately 1,576,618 in 2022. With the decrease in population, traffic fatalities continue to increase in the state.

The most recent report from the California Office of Traffic Safety revealed that traffic fatalities increased by 3.4 percent from 2019 to 2020. The state recorded 3,847 traffic deaths in 2020, with alcohol-impaired driving causing 30 percent of these fatalities.

If you figured in a motor vehicle accident, you have several legal options. You may recover damages by filing an auto accident insurance claim or an injury lawsuit. Regardless of the legal approach that you will follow, seeking legal representation from a personal injury lawyer is always advisable.

Law firms typically offer free consultations to potential clients with injury cases. Hiring a lawyer increases your chances of recovering total and fair compensation and expedites the resolution of your claim.

Key Takeaways
  • Alcohol-impaired driving is among Sacramento, California’s most common causes of motor vehicle accidents.
  • Being responsible and vigilant while on the road can prevent traffic accidents.
  • Hiring a car accident attorney can help you recover damages through an insurance claim or a lawsuit.

1. Alcohol-Impaired Driving

Intoxicated driving refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, also known as driving under the influence (DUI). Being intoxicated impairs a driver’s ability to make sound decisions and react to dynamic road conditions.

California law imposes sanctions on motorists who operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. Intoxicated driving can trigger car crashes since it affects a motorist’s cognitive abilities, such as perceiving distances, judging hazards, and deciding quickly.

In California, alcohol-impaired crashes killed 1,159 people in 2020. It was also the leading traffic safety concern in the state in 2021. DUIs can cause reckless driving, failure to yield, and speeding, leading to collisions with other road users or objects.

Sacramento, and other counties, such as Kern, Riverside, and San Diego, recorded the most severe and fatal injuries caused by alcohol-impaired driving.

2. Drug-Involved Driving

Another significant road concern in California is operating a vehicle under the influence of prescription medications, illegal substances, and over-the-counter drugs. Drug-involved driving caused 25.3 percent of the nation’s 38,824 traffic fatalities in 2020.

Driving under the influence of cannabis surfaced as a significant road safety concern, according to the 2021 California Traffic Safety Survey. The state legalized cannabis for medicinal and adult recreational use in 2018.

Drugs affect the brain and body, depending on the drug’s type and the person’s sensitivity and tolerance. Moreover, some medications can impede cognitive functions, including attention, perception, and decision-making. Meanwhile, other drugs can affect motor skills, like reaction time and coordination.

Whether they are legal or illegal, drugs can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or hallucinations, drastically increasing the risk of road accidents.

Sacramento and seven other counties logged the highest number of severe injuries from drug-involved crashes. Additionally, Sacramento was among the counties that recorded the most severe injuries related to drug-impaired driving.

3. Speeding

Speeding refer to motorists driving over the posted speed limit or operating too fast for the conditions. In 2020, Sacramento County recorded 34 fatalities and 117 severe injuries from speeding-related car crashes.

Speeding contributes to car crashes. For instance, it increases the force of impact in collisions. It reduces a driver’s reaction time and ability to maintain vehicle control. In addition, driving at high speeds can make it challenging for motorists to maneuver their cars and avoid road hazards.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) identified speed-related crash types from 2016 to 2020. The study revealed that over 35 percent of speeding accidents resulted in rear-end crashes. Other leading crash types included hit objects, overturned vehicles, broadside collisions, and pedestrian accidents.

The study also showed that speeding-related crashes often resulted in severe injuries or death. In 2020, over 31 percent of California’s 3,847 motor vehicle fatalities were speeding-related. The report highlights the dangers of speeding and the importance of following speed limits and driving at safe speeds.  

4. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is also among the leading causes of road accidents in Sacramento. The NHTSA defines it as activities that divert focus from safe driving. It includes texting or talking on the phone, drinking or eating, and even applying makeup while behind the wheel.

Sacramento County saw a rise in distracted driving cases resulting in fatal injuries in 2020. Distracted driving can be incredibly dangerous and cause auto accidents. 

For example, using a cell phone diverts a driver’s attention from the road. Consequently, they may fail to notice road signs, traffic signals, or other road users in their path. In addition, motorists may fail to react in time to sudden changes in road conditions, such as slowing or stationary traffic. 

Distracted driving is a preventable cause of car accidents. Motorists should refrain from activities that divert their attention from the road. Drivers should turn off their phones, eat before driving, or use hands-free devices to prevent distracted driving accidents. 

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What To Do Immediately After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Motorists must remain mindful and calm after an auto accident. What you say or do immediately after a car crash can significantly impact any legal claims you might file. It’s best you remain cautious and follow these steps to protect yourself and other parties involved in the car crash.

Report the accident to law enforcement

Report the incident to the police department right away. Provide all relevant information to the operator, including the location of the accident, the number of vehicles involved, and any damage or injuries sustained. 

Once law enforcement arrives at the scene, take note of the officer’s name, badge number, and contact information. They will assess the situation and draw up a police report. 

Motorists must remember to obtain a copy of the accident as it contains relevant information. This official record can be used as evidence in court or when negotiating with insurance companies.

Seek medical treatment

After a car crash, occupants may incorrectly assume that they are unharmed or have only suffered minor injuries. However, some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, as the adrenaline rush from the accident may mask the pain temporarily. Thus, car occupants must seek immediate treatment from paramedics.

A medical assessment is vital to identify injuries that may not be immediately apparent. Delaying medical attention can result in further complications and impede a person’s chances of recovering fair compensation for their injuries.

Exchange information

Parties to a car crash should exchange personal details, including their insurance information. This information is necessary for insurance companies to process claims and determine who is at fault.

Parties involved in the motor vehicle accident must exchange the following details:

  • Names, addresses, and contact information
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Insurance details, including their provider and insurance policy number
  • Vehicle information, such as the make, model, license plate number, and year

Reach out to a personal injury lawyer

Contact a Sacramento car accident lawyer to help with your case. It is advisable to negotiate with insurance companies with your lawyer. Insurance adjusters may minimize your claim or pressure you to settle for less than what is fair.

Other benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney include the following:

  • Knowledge and years of experience: A car accident lawyer possesses familiarity with the relevant laws. They can assist you in navigating complicated legal processes and ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
  • Investigation: A reliable lawyer can thoroughly investigate the car crash, gathering compelling evidence and interviewing witnesses.
  • Representation in court: If needed, your attorney can represent you. They are experienced in dealing with the jury and can advocate for your rights and interests throughout the litigation process. 

How To Prevent Causing Accidents on the Road

Preventing road accidents is essential to ensuring the safety of all motorists, pedestrians, and other road users. It is crucial to be aware of your surroundings and practice safe driving habits. Taking the initiative and executing simple steps to prevent auto accidents can help maintain safe roads for everyone.

California law encourages residents to follow traffic rules and regulations outlined in the California Drivers’ Handbook. Besides the safety guidelines in the handbook, motorists are encouraged to do the following activities:

Always wear your seat belt

A seat belt can prevent serious injuries or wrongful deaths in a car accident. Seat belts help distribute a vehicle collision’s force over the body’s strongest parts. It also reduces the risk of being thrown from the car or colliding with its interior.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reported that 97.6 percent of respondents in California always wear a seatbelt. Despite this fact, the state still recorded 756 unrestrained passengers who died in car crashes in 2020, almost a 20 percent increase from fatalities in 2019.

Avoid driving at night

Driving at night can subject motorists to road challenges, including reduced visibility and driver fatigue. In addition, driving at night increases the risk of encountering drunk or tired drivers on the road, which can lead to accidents.

It’s best to avoid driving at night. However, when a night trip cannot be avoided, remain vigilant on the road. Explore alternative transportation, such as taxis or ride-sharing services, if possible.

Be prepared for poor weather conditions

Preparing for poor weather conditions is crucial in preventing road accidents. Stay alert and ready for any road condition. Likewise, checking the weather forecast is advisable. This step allows motorists to postpone a trip or plan an alternative route.

When driving in inclement weather, slowing down and increasing your following distance is advisable. However, if the weather is severe, the best approach is to avoid driving entirely and wait until the conditions improve.

Likewise, ensure that your car is in excellent condition, with properly functioning tires, windshield wipers, and brakes. 

Avoid dangerous or reckless drivers

Steer clear from aggressive drivers on the road. Look for warning signs, including excessive honking, speeding, and cutting others off. Engaging with these drivers may escalate into conflict and a possible auto accident.

It is best to keep a safe distance from these motorists to avoid getting into accidents caused by aggressive or reckless driving.

Did you know?

In speeding-related cases in California, the court may suspend your driving license depending on the number of violations. You may lose your driving privileges for 30 days for a first violation and 60 days for a second violation.

Book a Free Consultation With a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney

When on the road, practicing safe or defensive driving is critical to reducing the risk of motor vehicle accidents. In addition, always ensure that you are in top driving condition to avoid endangering yourself and your passengers.

However, if you still figure in an auto accident, seeking legal assistance from a car accident lawyer is advisable. The Personal Injury Center can connect you to personal injury attorneys from Sacramento upon request.

Furthermore, if you wish to learn about auto accident claims or cases, you can browse The Personal Injury Center. The site features informative articles that can help address any concerns you have regarding your claim.

Request legal representation from a personal injury attorney today. Visit The Personal Injury Center to connect you to a reliable lawyer. 

FAQs on the Top Causes of Accidents in Sacramento

You may recover damages through your uninsured motorist coverage. If you carry this insurance, your provider can reimburse property damage or medical costs from the crash. Review your insurance policy carefully and seek legal advice to understand your options. 

The statute of limitations for a motor vehicle accident insurance claim in Sacramento is two years from the day of the incident.

On average, full auto insurance coverage in f California costs at least $2,000 annually.