Smart Motorist » 15 Most Common Causes Of Car Accidents (Tips for Prevention)

15 Most Common Causes Of Car Accidents (Tips for Prevention)

Despite the efforts authorities and vehicle manufacturers make to improve road safety, car accidents still happen at an alarming rate.

Which by itself imposes that most accidents happen due to human error. According to Stanford Law School, 90% of the crashes in 2013 in the U.S. happened at least partially due to human error.

Thankfully, there is a way to limit car accidents, especially when you know the main reasons why they happen. Here are the 15 most common causes for car accidents and how you can mitigate them.

Most common causes of car accidents

1. Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

Each time you’re behind the wheel, your full attention should be on the road ahead. When driving, things happen in an instance, which is why you need to be aware of the surroundings constantly.

Moreover, people aren’t built for multitasking. For that reason, you should never text, read notifications, eat, apply makeup, or do anything that might distract you.

You can limit distractions, though. Shutting down the mobile data on your smartphone will restrict most notifications significantly. Also, you can invest in a Bluetooth calling system if your car doesn’t have any so that you can keep your hands on the steering wheel.

As for texting, eating, applying makeup, or reading, there is really no place for them on the driver’s seat. As a driver, you’re not only responsible for your safety, but for everyone around you, so please be careful. And, honestly, you can stop for 10-15 minutes to finish what you need to do.

2. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Alcohol and recreational drugs are part of our world, which is (probably) fine until you become responsible for other lives.

I’ve heard drivers brag about driving drunk or under the influence, even though there is nothing funny about that. Alcohol, opiates, psychedelics, and other legal or banned drugs can significantly impair your perception. Simply put, you’re not the same driver anymore.

Therefore, giving the keys to your sober friend or catching a taxi are always better solutions. Or, don’t take your vehicle on a night out, especially if you plan on drinking or taking drugs. Take this thing seriously – lives are at stake.

3. High-Speed Driving

High-Speed Driving

Speeding is fun, I admit it. However, being responsible for you and other lives is even more fun. And, speeding opposes that – 17% of the accidents happen due to speeding. For that reason, you should limit your high-speed shenanigans for track days.

The faster you go, the higher the chance something wrong happens. Braking distances will be much longer, the tires won’t have enough grip, and you won’t be able to notice things on time. On average, you will need double the distance to a full stop when driving 60mph as opposed to 40mph.

Obviously, you should always adhere to the speed limits, but also adjust the velocity of the vehicle according to the conditions. Slow down when it rains, snows, or there is fog outside.

4. Driving Aggressively and Recklessly

Is there truly a reason to tailgate the vehicle in front of you? Or cut lanes like a racing driver that battles for victory on the final lap? Driving aggressively and recklessly can significantly increase the chance for an accident to happen.

And, that’s true even if you feel that you’re on top of everything you do. Other drivers and traffic participants aren’t prepared for erratic behavior. Hence, the next time you cut the lane, the driver behind you might not be able to hit the brakes on time.

Also, always respect red lights and stop signs. They are there for a reason! And, it’s not like you’ll be losing too much time by waiting – the average light cycle (green, yellow, and red) lasts only 120 seconds.

5. Driving Tired or Sleepy

Driving Tired Or Sleepy

Driving for prolonged periods can cause tiredness, which is one of the main culprits for car accidents. That’s especially true during the night when our bodies naturally want to go to sleep.

You should immediately stop at the nearest parking or gas station if you feel tired or sleepy. Drink a coffee, an energy drink, or even take a nap.

Also, avoid driving deep into the night. Otherwise, you risk losing sight of the road ahead periodically or even fall asleep on the steering wheel.

6. Wet Roads

The rolling traction of tires reduces almost in half on wet roads when compared to dry roads. That’s why most of the weather-related accidents happen in rainy conditions.

Fortunately, you can combat this by slowing down, increase your focus, and take care of your tires. You might even want to stop when it rains very heavily because visibility is almost non-existent.

7. Snowy and Icy Roads

Snowy and Icy Roads

Snow and ice lower the rolling traction of tires even further. Also, visibility significantly reduces during a snow storm. Therefore, harsh wintry conditions are the main culprit behind chain accidents.

To increase safety in the winter, you need to drive very slowly and gently. Otherwise, your vehicle might easily spin-out of control. Also, note that the braking distances on snow and ice are incredibly long.

If you often encounter heavy snowstorms on roads in your area, you should probably invest in a quality set of winter or snow tires. These tires significantly improve traction over snow and ice, even when compared to all-season tires.

8. Reduced Visibility due to Heavy Fog

Driving in heavy fog increases the chance of an accident considerably. You should be extra careful when driving in fog and drive very slowly.

Also, using the front and rear fog lights on your car to see better in front, but also notify other drivers about your presence. However, don’t use the high beam, as it limits not only your visibility but also that of incoming cars.

9. Teenage Drivers

I am all about learning how to drive at a younger age. Sadly, though, teenagers make up for a significant portion of drivers that cause accidents.

Now, most of the time, teenagers make mistakes due to a lack of experience. However, many young people also use their smartphones while driving, or drive too fast (showing off).

If you are a parent, it’s probably best to spend time with your kid behind the wheel and teach him/her about defensive driving. You’re investing in their safety, nothing more.

10. Tire Blowouts

Tire Blowouts

A big tire blowout is an unfortunate event that can happen instantly. The worst thing about this is that even the most experienced drivers might not be able to keep the vehicle in control.

To limit accidents related to tire blowouts, though, you can apply many of the driving tips stated above. Mainly, drive slowly and continuously keep attention to the road. That way, you will be able to react faster and keep the vehicle in check.

11. Worn-Out Tires

Authorities never state worn-out tires as a culprit for a car accident. You’ll only see “exceeded speed limit” or “not adhering to traffic regulations.”

However, most of the speed-related accidents are actually due to worn-out tires. Modern vehicles can perform safely even above the speed limit, but certainly not without good tires.

For safe and carefree driving experience, be sure that your tires are always in great shape. Check the tread depth regularly and also make sure that you keep them inflated correctly.

12. Racing on Public Streets

Racing on Public Streets

I am a car enthusiast myself, and, yes, I’ve been challenged to race on the street. Nonetheless, racing on public roads might be the stupidest thing anyone would do. Follow my lead, and please stop doing that.

Racing involves high speeds and aggressive cornering, both of which can significantly increase the risk of having an accident. Take your adrenaline and release it on the racing track. It will be more fun than street racing, anyway.

13. Car Defects

Even though it doesn’t happen often, a defect can cause your car to behave erratically. That’s especially true if you have problems with the brakes, suspension, or other underbody components.

For that reason, you should always keep your car in check. Servicing your vehicle regularly helps significantly since the mechanic might tell you about some defects in advance.

Some cars, though, have design defects from the factory. Manufacturers are usually quick to react with recalls, especially if the issue is related to safety. However, it’s up to you to bring the car to the authorized service asap.

14. Road Construction

Road Construction

Road construction annoys many drivers, but that’s the only way to keep the streets safe for driving. And, the construction site itself is rarely the reason for the accident – the unadjusted speed is. Hence, each time you encounter road construction, slow down.

15. Wild Animal Crossings

People learn about traffic regulations, even from young age, but animals are unable to do that. On many occasions, wild animals can appear on roads and highways. That’s why, the first moment you notice the sign for wild animals crossing, slow down.

Otherwise, you risk not only the life of the animal but your life as well. According to NBC News, animals kill almost 200 people annually from car crashes. Overall, animals contribute to around 26,000 traffic-related injuries each year.


If it wasn’t apparent by now, people are the main reason why accidents happen. And it’s all about responsibility. Driving is dangerous, and it will be forever. Therefore, by being accountable, drivers can considerably decrease the odds of something terrible happening.

If you learned something valuable in this article, you might want to share it with your friends. Also, if you have any other questions regarding this or other car-related subjects, please do not hesitate to comment on this post. We are open to suggestions as well!

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