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Common Causes of Car Accidents

Updated April 9, 2024 | By Emily Chimenti

Despite new advances in vehicle technology, such as backup cameras, adaptive headlights, and forward collision systems (FCS), car accidents still happen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 42,514 people were killed on the roads in 2022, and 2.38 million accident victims sustained injuries that required a visit to a medical professional.

Whether minor or severe, accidents can drastically change a person’s life. They can result in a loss of wages, pain and suffering, or permanent disabilities. Just because traffic accidents are common doesn’t mean familiarizing yourself with the facts should be brushed aside.

There are two categories of the causes of traffic accidents. The first being the fault of human error, and the second class being everything else.

Common Causes of Car Accidents Due to Driver Error

Most traffic accidents don’t necessarily have to do with knowing how to drive a vehicle but more so which decisions the driver makes behind the wheel. In fact, about 94% of all road accidents are caused by human error.

At some point, a number of drivers will find themselves guilty of committing some of the most common causes of traffic accidents. However, heightening awareness for these causes can further educate and hopefully influence drivers to be more cautious on the road.

Start taking preventative measures by keeping these events in mind the next time you drive.

Distracted Driving

One of the top causes of car accidents can be blamed on distracted driving. Despite popular opinion, the brain is incapable of focusing on more than one task at a time. This means that when a driver is texting, talking on the phone, grooming, reading, or even eating while driving, the brain is switching between tasks and unable to consistently focus on what’s ahead.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is responsible for an average of 32 deaths per day. But thanks to recent educational efforts, deaths related to drunk driving have lessened.


Running late to work, keeping up with traffic, or simply unintentionally driving over the speed limit are of the top causes of speeding-related accidents.

Running Red Lights and Stop Signs

Approximately 40% of car accidents occur at intersections, with the cause being running a red light or a stop sign. It’s not worth avoiding the one to two minute (or less) wait to risk injuring or even killing yourself or others.

Reckless Driving

Switching lanes too quickly, blatantly disregarding the safety and/or property of others, and purposely failing to abide by cautionary measures are only some characteristics of reckless driving.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is different than reckless driving and includes any combination of traffic offenses that endanger other drivers or property, including speeding.


Sleepiness, drowsiness, or downright exhaustion can impair a driver’s ability to competently respond, react, or discern conditions on the road.

Common Causes of Car Accidents Unrelated to Human Error

Sometimes the safest, most defensive drivers fall victim to car accidents, but not by way of their own error. Other factors can have a big influence.

Weather Conditions

Slippery roads from rain, snow, or ice affect traction in tires, in turn causing vehicles to slide off the road or hit other objects or vehicles. Fog, water levels, and wind speed may also contribute to weather-related accidents.

Road Conditions

Poorly maintained roadways increase the risk of a popped tire and influence a driver’s ability to brake adequately.

Vehicle Defects

Cars consist of hundreds upon hundreds of parts that keep them running safely and smoothly. But with that many parts, it is not uncommon for them to go haywire and malfunction.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

Unfortunately, even with substantial awareness and education, thousands of individuals fall victim to traffic accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a car accident, contact an Indianapolis auto accident attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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