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Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents and collisions involving other motor vehicles are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in the United States.  

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), law enforcement officials report over 6.5 million crashes every year, on average, resulting in more than 36,000 fatalities and 2.7 million injuries. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) treats motor vehicle safety as one of its main concerns. 

To avoid becoming a victim of a serious crash, you must understand how a car accident occurs. A common factor in most crashes is driver inattention, in which drivers lose focus on the road and safely operating a vehicle. 

Driver inattention and/or one of the following factors are the main causes of car accidents in the U.S.: 

  • Distractions – From texting or talking on a cellphone to eating/drinking or grooming while behind the wheel, distracted driving can take your eyes away from the road, your hands away from the steering wheel, and your mind and attention away from the primary task operating a vehicle. When you are distracted, you may not have enough time to react to road and traffic conditions, leading to a devastating collision. 

  • Alcohol and drug impairment – Tens of thousands of accidents annually are caused by drivers who were impaired by alcohol or drugs (both illicit narcotics and prescribed medications). Between one-quarter and one-third of all fatal crashes on U.S. roads each year are caused by alcohol or drug impairment. Drugs and alcohol negatively affect a driver’s reaction time, vigilance, and judgment while on the road. 

  • Speeding – Speeding is another contributing factor to a significant number of fatal traffic accidents. The truth is that many drivers exceed the speed limit in neighborhoods, city streets, and highways. Any driver who speeds has less time to react to a road hazard or any unexpected road conditions since the vehicle itself requires more distance to make a controlled stop. Speeding can also increase the possibility of losing control of a vehicle because of inclement weather conditions. 

  • Reckless driving – All drivers must follow the traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. Speeding well over the posted limit, excessive lane changes without signaling, running traffic signals and signs, tailgating, and aggressive behaviors (such as road rage) behind the wheel are all considered forms of reckless driving. When drivers let their emotions override their judgment, reckless driving can result in serious and fatal car accidents. 

  • Fatigue – According to the CDC, approximately one-third of all adults regularly get fewer than seven to eight hours of sleep to wake up alert and refreshed. Furthermore, drowsiness can be compounded by working long hours or the graveyard shift, medical conditions like a sleeping disorder, prescribed medications, and even unhealthy eating habits. Unfortunately, fatigued driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Even if drivers do not fall asleep, their reaction time is substantially reduced and their critical-thinking skills are impaired, resulting in a crash. 

If you have been injured in a car accident in Woodstock, Atlanta, or within Northern Georgia, call The Dickinson Law Firm, LLC at (770) 924-8155 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Our legal team has more than 40 years of personal injury experience!