Pedestrians, cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, taxis, and mopeds use and share the roads. People who operate motor vehicles to travel support different countries’ social and economic developments. Unfortunately, vehicular accidents are responsible for countless injuries, deaths, and associated costs.
Injuries from motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among kids and young adults within the five to 29 age bracket. Around 1.3 million succumbed to their injuries after a tragic road accident. These include motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians, the most vulnerable road users.
It’s, therefore, essential to know the potential road risks and hazards, abroad or locally. You can take preventive measures to ensure your well-being while traversing roadways.
Learn more about car collision causes and how to best protect yourself and your loved ones from its consequences.
Distracted Driving: Most Common Cause of Collisions
In 2020, 3,142 people died because of distracted driving. In another report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that nine people die in the US daily because of traffic accidents involving distracted drivers.
Distracted driving is anything that takes your focus away from the road. This type of driving increases the likelihood of a motor vehicle collision. This includes the following:
- Texting or talking on the phone
- Talking with your passengers
- Drinking and eating
- Fiddling with the car stereo or navigating system
- Anything taking your attention away
The NHTSA leads the efforts to prevent dangerous behavior on the road. Because of the increasing number of deaths and injuries from distracted driving, it started various initiatives to combat distracted driving casualties. These include One Text Or Call Could Wreck It All and U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
One Text Or Call Could Wreck It All
Unfortunately, the dangerous practice of texting while driving and other distractions are common throughout the US.The NHTSA launched this campaign to increase awareness about the hazards of distracted driving, focusing on texting behind the wheel.
Just a moment of distraction while driving can lead to devastating, catastrophic, or fatal consequences. Even reading a text message puts your life and the lives of others in peril.
Other counties have signified their support for this national initiative. For example, Orange County has committed to promoting the message that distracted drivers pose risks to themselves and other road users.
The campaign aligns with the “Put It Down” public-private partnership. It is a county-wide effort led by the Iowa State Patrol, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, and the Community Health Partners of Sioux County. It educates the public through school presentations, public service announcements, and displays.
Texting while driving is currently prohibited in 48 US states. Other states are also following suit, voting on similar legislation. The consequences of this dangerous behavior are even more severe for bus and truck drivers. These people are more responsible for public safety as they operate larger vehicles.
U Drive. U Text. U Pay
The “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign reminds drivers of the risks and legal consequences, including fines, associated with texting while driving. Aside from the increasing number of counties legislating laws to support this national initiative, it also heightened police presence. Law enforcement implements these laws and raises awareness about the dangers of texting while driving.
Drivers within the 16 to 24 age bracket are more prone to distraction from devices than other drivers. However, distracted driving crashes can happen to anyone. NHTSA suggests the following tips to promote safe driving:
- Find a safe spot and pull over if you need to send or receive a text.
- If you have passengers, assign a “designated texter.”
- Keep your cell phone away if you can’t resist the urge to check it constantly.
Other Common Causes of Car Accidents
Distracted driving might be the most common cause of collisions, but it isn’t the only one. Other behaviors that may cause car accidents include the following:
Driving beyond the speed limit significantly increases the crash risk. When traveling at higher speeds, you have less time to react to potential dangers on the road. As a result, you may already be in trouble before you realize it.
Driving at higher speeds also reduces your stopping distance, requiring you to brake more abruptly. In many cases, you might not be able to stop on time. High-speed collisions often lead to more severe injuries and property damage.
Drunk driving threatens the safety of everyone on the road. Alcohol can impair your cognitive abilities, including coordination, judgment, and reaction time.
Drinking can also result in reckless and aggressive behavior on the road. Aside from violating traffic laws, driving under the influence of alcohol endangers other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Aggressive driving violates traffic laws and puts other road users or property in danger. The following are practices that fall under the definition of aggressive driving behavior:
- Changing lanes without warning
- Road rage
- Running on the red light
- Failing to signal lane changes or turns
- Failing to yield
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Ignoring other vehicle’s warning signals
- Driving in hazardous and prohibited zones
- Exceeding the speed limit
The consequences of driving a vehicle when you’re exhausted or sleepy are similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. However, motor vehicle accidents due to drowsy driving typically lead to fewer injuries and deaths. One reason might be that these crashes typically happen between midnight and early morning when fewer vehicles are on the road.
Dangerous road conditions
While most preventable accidents are due to human error, some are beyond their control. Dangerous conditions like the following cause many accidents:
- Slippery surfaces
- Poor visibility
- Adverse weather conditions
- High and strong winds
These factors can impact a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle. It can also affect vehicle performance, negatively affecting maneuverability, stability, and traction. If you can’t avoid going on the road, the best thing to do is exercise more caution.
Poor road maintenance
Navigating a road filled with potholes can be irritating and dangerous. Most drivers will attempt maneuvering around the potholes to prevent damaging their cars. However, this can lead to accidental lane deviations and put them in the path of oncoming vehicles traveling at high speeds.
How can you establish fault in collision cases?
Determining liability in a head-on collision or other car accidents can be complicated. However, if you can prove the following elements of negligence, you can establish fault.
Identify the duty of care
Before a claim for damages can prosper, the plaintiff must establish that the at-fault party had a duty of care. Possession of a driver’s license grants the driver the right to navigate roads and highways of the state. However, this right comes with a duty to prevent harm to other people on the road and damage to property. A motorist must practice a certain degree of care while driving.
Most states explicitly require drivers to follow the rules of the road and obey traffic laws. Getting behind the wheel imposes a legal duty of care on all drivers.
Show they were negligent
Negligence is the failure to observe the degree of care the situation requires. Drivers must refrain from violating the rules and laws of the road and stay focused on the road while driving.
They must also ensure that the vehicle they’re driving is in good condition and that they regularly inspect it. Operating in a high-traffic environment is in itself hazardous. This danger will significantly multiply if your vehicle is not in running condition.
Suppose a driver causes an accident that results in injuries to individuals or damage to property due to distracted driving. The injured party or the property owner can claim compensation from the at-fault driver as a licensed driver.
However, a driver who caused your injury is not automatically negligent. You must prove they breached their duty of care by presenting evidence when you file a claim or lawsuit.
Establish proximate cause
Breaching an established duty of care is the first two elements in determining liability. You must also show that the breach was the proximate or direct cause of your injuries or property damage. In other words, you must establish a a direct link between the breach of duty and injuries suffered.
For example, the defendant ignored a stop sign at an intersection, violating the road rules. As a result, they collided with your vehicle, resulting in injuries. You must show that your injuries were a direct result of the collision.
You can’t claim damages if you did not sustain any injuries in the accident but sprained your ankle afterward. In this case, the defendant’s negligence isn’t the direct cause of your injury.
Show that damages are verifiable
Verifiable damages are claims substantiated by evidence. Even if you were hurt or injured in an accident, you can’t ask for any amount you like. Suppose you are to include actual damages to your personal injury claim. You must show medical bills, prescriptions, and other supporting documents to justify your request.
If you’re alleging emotional distress, you can submit the following evidence as proof:
- Documentation of changes in your routine
- Letters from employers, colleagues, and friends
- Prescriptions and treatment for your mental anguish
If you want punitive damages, you must show the court that the defendant was guilty of malice, fraud, or oppression. The court will decide if they will award it.
When is it necessary to hire a car accident lawyer?
You need to hire a lawyer if you are in a car accident that resulted in significant property damage, injury, or death. A lawyer can guide you through the complex legal system to get compensation for your losses. They can protect your rights and defend you against any legal claims.
You may need a personal injury lawyer in the following scenarios:
You got hurt in an accident, and another party is at-fault
Determining who was at fault is tricky since all parties will seek to escape liability. This is especially true if it involves jail time, penalties, or criminal charges.
Even if you were hurt and you’re sure that the other driver was negligent, they can still refute your claims. They can say that you were also partly responsible and should be barred from asking for compensation.
The situation is less likely to happen if you have a car accident attorney by your side. They will make every effort to ensure the evidence imputes full liability to the other party.
You want to settle with the at-fault party or their insurance firms
Settling with the at-fault or insurance companies will always be challenging, as your best interest is the least of their concerns. They will try to deny your claims or force you to settle with the amount they’re willing to give.
You can prevent this with an auto accident lawyer working for you. Let your lawyer negotiate so you don’t have to settle for less than you deserve.
You need help in gathering evidence to back your claims
A critical part of your personal injury claim is establishing the other party’s liability. You must provide evidence proving the at-fault party’s duty of care and subsequent breach, which might be challenging. Your best option is to have your lawyer assess and build your case.
They are well-versed in the rules of evidence to differentiate those admissible and those not. The lawyer will do a case review to determine if you have a claim based on the evidence. If they agree to act for you, you have some degree of confidence that your claim has merit.
You don’t know how to value your claim
The law allows you to recover damages for the injuries you suffer. However, the court frowns upon exorbitant claims. The judge can significantly lessen or dismiss your prayer for damages if they are unreasonable. An experienced lawyer will ensure your compensation claims are within the legal limits.
You need someone to defend you in court
Lawyers are knowledgeable in both the substantive and procedural aspects of the law. They can draft persuasive pleadings and represent you well in court. When you must face the bar and bench, your lawyer will advocate for you.
If colliding with another vehicle is inevitable, aim for areas that absorb impacts. Instead of rear-ending a car, steer towards its taillight instead of the license plate. This will lessen the damage to both vehicles.
Get Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries
Determining the most common cause of collisions can help you avoid car accidents. Avoid distracted driving to keep you, your passengers, and others safe from harm.
However, you can’t control the behavior of other people. If you get into a car accident due to reckless driving, it can change your life if you suffer lethal injuries. It’s even worse if it results in wrongful death.
You can lessen the financial burden of your losses with the help of a car accident lawyer. They can protect your rights to the compensation you deserve.
The Personal Injury Center maintains a network of experienced personal injury attorneys to assist you in navigating the legal process. They can secure fair compensation for your losses by negotiating with insurance companies or litigating your case in court.
Take advantage of our free case evaluation to find the best lawyers in your region.
If you need clarification on the legal process, visit The Personal Injury Center. We have comprehensive legal resources about personal injury and medical malpractice.
FAQs on the Most Common Cause of Collision
In most states, you don't have to report a minor car collision that didn't end in serious injuries or property damage. However, it is best to notify the police in case you need a report to support an insurance claim. Some injuries may also present a few days after an accident, so getting medical attention is also a good idea.
A car accident can result in severe emotional harm. Many survivors face psychological consequences such as anxiety, stress, and other lingering mental health issues. The psychological impact of a car accident can be just as debilitating as physical injuries.
Several safety features can be crucial in protecting the vehicle's occupants in a car collision. Some of these include the following:
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Backup cameras
- Blind spot detector
- Driver-attention monitor
- Lane assist
- Parking sensors
- Pedestrian detector
- Rear cross traffic alerting system
- Traffic-sign recognition system