What are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents in the United States?


Car accidents are common, but some of their causes are preventable, such as drunk driving and distracted driving. While people cannot prevent what other drivers do on the road, they can prepare themselves and be aware of the different reasons why car accidents happen in order to try to avoid them. While many actions can cause car accidents, some common reasons stand out more than others. Listed below are the leading causes of car collisions and how to avoid them.

Drunk Driving

Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is not a good choice and is actually illegal in every state. It is important to choose a designated driver, take a taxi or rideshare service, or call a friend if too much drinking has occurred to drive safely. Sometimes, a person’s driving will indicate they are intoxicated, and they can be avoided on the roadway.


Speeding is another leading cause of fatal car accidents. For every mile over the speed limit a person goes, their reaction time slows significantly. For safe driving, drivers need to be at their best and that includes their reaction time. Whether a person is late for work, missing an important event, or just not watching the speedometer, it is still important to follow the posted speed limits.

While most speeding tickets are minor, speeding can become a felony charge if it causes severe, debilitating injuries or death. The best way to avoid speeding is to pay attention to road signs, use cruise control when it is possible, and not be pressured by other drivers that are speeding.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is driving that occurs by people that do not appear to care about the consequences of their negligent and dangerous actions. It is the people that let their anger and actions go unchecked that are the most reckless drivers on the road. These motorists drive aggressively, carelessly, erratically, or are negligent drivers and put themselves, loved ones, and other motorists at risk.

Reckless driving can include speeding, tailgating, swerving, passing too closely, not using a blinker or changing lanes too frequently, trying to beat the red light, and harassing other drivers. All reckless actions should be avoided. If someone on the road is driving recklessly, a person should make a point to avoid them.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is any activity that takes away a motorist’s attention from the task at hand. Distracted driving includes texting, eating, passenger conversations, messing with dashboard controls, talking on the phone, tending to kids, and other activities that take away focus from the road.

A driver taking their eyes off the road for even a few seconds can lead to an accident. Even thinking about something stressful going on in their life can be a distraction. Out of all these distractions, texting while driving is one of the deadliest and most common. Each person can do their part by avoiding distractions, keeping their eyes on the road, and allowing passengers to assist with any needs.


A person does not have to fall asleep for fatigue to cause an accident. Driving while not fully awake or when feeling fatigued causes a person to lose focus and concentration. This reduces reaction time and can have similar results as drunk driving.

There are steps a person can do to decrease their drowsiness, such as blowing cold air conditioning, opening windows, or having music on, but these can also be distractions and may not always work. Additionally, these are only temporary solutions, the most effective is getting enough sleep. A motorist should avoid driving if they feel they are too tired to drive.

Poor Weather

When the weather turns dangerous, driving is greatly affected. Roads become slick, visibility poor, and tensions elevate. The best way to avoid these types of accidents is to adjust driving styles to each situation. For example, driving slower in the rain can help prevent hydroplaning. Remember, good weather can also cause issues, such as the glare from the sun that can obstruct the driver’s view.

What are Other Causes of Collisions?

While the main reasons are listed above, there are other less common causes of accidents. Other reasons for car accidents include:

  • Wrong-way driving
  • Veering into another lane
  • Overcorrecting or swerving
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Failure to obey traffic signs
  • Running yellow or red lights

Many of these reasons also relate to some of the main reasons above, such as a person overcorrecting due to taking their eyes off the road because they were distracted by something.

After a car accident, a victim should retain a lawyer to determine if they are eligible for compensation. A victim may be able to file a personal injury claim to collect damages for financial losses and injuries.

Milford Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Collision Victims Collect Damages

Knowing the causes of collisions can help drivers avoid them from happening. Sometimes, a collision is unpreventable. If you have an injury because you were hit by a negligent driver, a Milford car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford. Contact us online or call us at (302) 427-9500 for a free consultation today.


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