Most Common Causes of Car Crashes (and How to Prevent Them)

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Every year, thousands of lives are lost and people are seriously injured in road traffic accidents in the US. Regardless of media focus on safe driving, and vehicles and roads both being safer than they have ever been, accidents are still happening at an alarming rate. Considering that there is more traffic on the roads than the early 1970s for instance, the numbers of deaths have reduced but there are still far too many bereaved families because of road accidents. From 1966 to 1973, more than 50,000 people died on US roads each year. In 2017 there were just over 37,000.

The worst thing about these statistics is that many of the accidents were preventable if only drivers took more care.

Driver Distraction

This is a worldwide problem, not just a US one. It takes just a few seconds of looking the wrong way for a fatal accident to happen, and this is the single biggest cause of deaths on the roads.

This is why many countries have banned the use of cell phones while driving, but also you should not eat, drink, mess with the radio, do your hair, put your makeup on, try to read a map or anything else. You should be concentrating 100% on the road ahead, and what is going on around you. If you are alert you are more likely to see a child that is about to run into the road, or that the car in front has had to slam their brakes on.

If you need to check messages on your phone or look at a map to find your way, find a safe place to pull over to check them out. Do not try to do them while driving and pout your own life and the lives of others in danger.

Of course, you can be the safest driver on the road and some other distracted driver causes an accident in which you are injured. Then you should speak with a car accident lawyer for help to get any compensation you could be entitled to. It can be hard to prove who is to blame sometimes, but it is far from impossible and it is worth doing.


Speeding is the second most common cause of car crashes in the US. There are times when we all run late for something, but speeding to get there is not the answer. You are more likely to lose control of your car, or not be able to stop in time if something runs out in front of you.

Speeding can mean that you change lanes too quickly, have to run red lights because you cannot stop in time and generally will make your driving more reckless than it should be. It is the cause of some awful accidents and is not something you should do.

Speed limits are there for a reason, and you should always stick to them.

Drink And Drugs

If you have been drinking or taking drugs, and this applies to some prescription drugs as well as illegal ones, do not risk getting behind the wheel of a car. This is the third biggest cause of deaths on US roads. If your mind is not 100% clear because of drink or drugs give the keys to your vehicle to someone that has not had either, or take a taxi to wherever you are going.

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Regardless of how slow the vehicle in front is traveling, always keep a safe distance from them. You can panic the other driver by getting too close, and then they will become distracted, as they will be more concerned about you than the road ahead. Being too close to the car in front can also mean that you do not have time to react if they slow even more to take a turn, or they have to put their brakes on.


Driving over a pothole can damage your car and make you lose control. If you see one in front of you and there is traffic coming the other way, stop and wait until it has passed before driving around the pothole. These are bad for car drivers, but can be fatal for cyclists and motorbike riders. They can be thrown from their bikes, and if they land in the path of traffic they could lose their life or be seriously injured.

There are laws regarding the repairs of road faults such as potholes, but until that has been done, be aware of them whenever you travel on that road.

Other Cause Of Road Accidents

These are the main causes of accidents on the road in the US, but there are others which you will need to avoid to stay safe on the roads. Teenage drivers who are inexperienced are to blame for quite a few, and then there are animals running into the road and car defects such as brakes failing or a tire blowout. Driving at night and failing to read road signs also account for some of the accidents where people lose their lives.

To reduce the risk of an accident happening to you, never drive when you are tired and if you are on a long journey stop for regular breaks to keep you alert. Turn your phone off while in the car, and concentrate on what you should be doing, which is driving safely.

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