Why Do Car Accidents Happen? 3 Leading Causes of Car CrashesJanuary 21, 2020
The vast majority of car accidents are caused by:
- Driver error
- Mechanical failure
- The environment (road conditions and weather conditions)
Here’s a closer look at these factors and the role they play in causing car wrecks. 1
Cause 1: Driver Errors & Car Accident
About 94% of all car wrecks occur due to drivers’ mistakes or misbehaviors behind the wheel. Most often, these mistakes include:
- Recognition errors: About 41% of the crashes caused by driver errors are the result of drivers failing to properly recognize and respond to their surroundings. For instance, motorists can overlook or misinterpret signage, like one-way street signs, resulting in crashes.
- Decision errors: In about 1 out every 3 car accidents caused by motorists errors involve drivers making wrong decisions, like miscalculating the stopping distance, driving faster than the speed limit, or assuming they have the right-of-way when they don’t.
- Performance errors: Around 11% of driver-caused crashes are the result of motorists not safely handling the vehicle. For example, overcompensating after a turn or failing to step on the brakes in a timely manner are all performance driver performance errors that can and do cause wrecks.
When drivers are impaired, distracted, or unwilling to follow the rules of the road, these motorist errors—and the resulting crashes—are far more likely to happen.
Cause 2: Car Crashes Caused by Mechanical Failures
The second most common cause of car accidents is mechanical failures in vehicles, accounting for about 2% of all auto wrecks. When a vehicle malfunction or failure contributed to a crash, most commonly the issue involves:
- Tire problems: About 35% of car accidents caused by a mechanical failure are the result of a tire problem, like a tire blowout.
- Brake problems: Sticky brakes, total brake failure, and other brake issues contribute to about 22% of these crashes.
- Steering, suspension, transmission, and engine-related problems: About 3 percent of the wrecks caused by equipment failure involve malfunctions of these major vehicle components.
These vehicle equipment issues can be the result of equipment defects, design flaws, or failures to properly install or maintain the equipment.
Cause 3: Environmental Conditions & Car Accident
The third most common cause of car accidents is environmental factors, like road and weather conditions. When environmental factors contribute to auto wrecks, the conditions most commonly involve:
- Slick roads: Half of these wrecks are the result of slick roads, which can be caused by spills, weather conditions, and/or failure to maintain the roads.
- Glare: About 17% of car accidents caused by environmental factors involve blinding glare, which prevents drivers from being able to clearly see and safely respond to their environments.
- Obstruction of a driver’s view: This factor, which causes about 3% of these crashes, can occur whenever environmental conditions, like overgrown foliage or debris in the road, prevent drivers from being able to see their environments.
- Problems with traffic signals and signage: About 3% of these wrecks result from missing, damaged, or malfunctioning traffic signals or signs.
- Adverse weather: Fog, heavy rains, snow, and other adverse weather play a role in causing about 2% of these crashes.
What Caused My Car Accident?
The best way to determine the cause and fault for your crash is to partner with an experienced car accident lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to helping accident victims:
- Identify all at-fault parties and hold them all accountable
- Navigate each step on the road to recovery and justice
- Maximize their recoveries so they can restore their lives.
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1: All statistics referenced in this blog have been sourced from the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).