Top Causes of Car Accidents: What to Watch for While Driving

No matter how defensively you drive, reckless drivers are all around you. In seconds, your life can change forever due to a distracted, aggressive, or drunk driver. Serious injuries from car accidents often result in expensive medical care and lost wages. Contact a Seattle car accident lawyer without delay if someone doesn’t share the road or fails to drive responsibly, causing injury to you or your loved ones.

What Are Some Top Causes of Car Accidents?

Despite numerous public safety campaigns against drunk driving, the problem continues to exist. Advances in smartphone technology are creating opportunities for distracted driving. And, anger continues to plague drivers as they lead stressful lives with little to no free time. Your life is at risk if drivers make poor choices when getting behind the wheel.
Here are the top causes of car accidents, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

  1. Distracted driving (cell phone use, texting, eating, etc.)
  2. Drunk driving
  3. Speeding
  4. Reckless or aggressive driving (tailgating, improper lane changing, etc.)
  5. Drug-impaired driving
  6. Fatigue or drowsy driving
  7. Poor road conditions (potholes, slippery surfaces, etc.)
  8. Bad weather (fog, rain, snow, etc.)

Distracted Driving

One of the top causes of car accidents in Washington is distracted driving. A survey by the foundation found that 78 percent of drivers believe texting while driving is a significant danger to other drivers. Yet, nearly 35 percent of those surveyed admitted to texting or sending an email from behind the wheel. Fifty-eight percent of survey participants believe talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous, with 49 percent admitting to the behavior.

These distracted drivers cause accidents that often result in horrific injuries and fatalities.

Research from the AAA Foundation discovered that a person talking on a cell phone while driving is four times more likely to cause a car accident. Those who text are up to eight times more likely to crash.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that at 55 miles per hour, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds—the length of a football field. The thought that sending a text “only takes a second” can result in a lifetime of medical care for another driver.

Distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phones. Anything that takes your eyes off the road is a distraction and can result in serious car accidents. Applying makeup, changing the music station, or reaching for an object all count as distracted driving.

The CDC cites three main categories of distraction:

  • Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – Taking your mind off driving

What makes texting and driving so dangerous is that the action involves all three categories of distraction, according to the CDC.

Drunk Driving

One of the most common causes of car accidents in Washington is drunk driving. The issue of drinking and driving never goes away. Why do people choose to drink and drive? The answers from a recent survey provide some insight into this dangerous decision:

  • Most people believe they can drive after a few drinks with no problem; the alcohol gives them a false sense of feeling invincible.
  • Their home isn’t far away and they can drive the short distance safely.
  • They think they won’t get caught.

Drunk drivers continue to take risks, placing other drivers in danger of serious injuries. If you or a loved one has experienced serious injuries due to the negligent behavior of another driver, contact the car accident lawyers at Boohoff Law Firm today.


Speeding is a top cause of auto accidents because it increases the likelihood and severity of crashes. When a driver exceeds the speed limit or drives too fast for the conditions, they reduce their ability to safely react to unexpected events on the road. The faster a vehicle travels, the longer it takes to stop and the greater the force of impact in a collision.

When a driver speeds, they risk losing control of the vehicle, particularly on curves or in adverse weather conditions. As a result, speeding contributes to a significant number of car accidents and fatalities each year on Washington’s roadways.

According to the NHTSA, speeding caused 11,258 fatalities in 2020 alone. For more than two decades, speeding drivers caused at least one-third of all motor vehicle accidents and fatalities.

Aggressive or Reckless Driving

Another common cause of car accidents is aggressive driving or reckless driving. When a driver acts in a negligent way that is deliberate and with no regard for safety, their behavior constitutes aggressive driving. As the demands of our personal and work lives demand more, our stress levels rise. In turn, aggressive driving escalates on our nation’s highways, especially during rush hour. The time pressure involved with getting to work or returning home carries over into our driving behaviors. Examples of aggressive driving include:

  • Tailgating
  • Cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down
  • Running red lights
  • Blocking cars that are attempting to pass or change lanes

Aggressive and reckless driving can quickly escalate to road rage. Signs of road rage include:

  • Running another car off the road
  • Throwing objects at another vehicle
  • Ramming or sideswiping another vehicle

A recent AAA Foundation survey reports that 87 percent of participants admitted to aggressive driving or road rage behavior at least once during the previous year.

Drug Impaired Driving

The nation’s opioid crisis and the legalization of marijuana in several states are causes of concern for driver safety. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) cites both issues as contributing factors to the rise in car accidents in many states. The GHSA reports that, in 2016, the most recent data available, 50.5 percent of drug-positive drivers tested positive for two or more drugs.

More than 100 people die every day in the United States due to opioid addiction or overdose. As standards for establishing legal limits for marijuana vary throughout the nation. However, driving under the influence of the drug is dangerous, no matter whether the driver has a medical prescription or not. 

Fatigued Driving

Driver fatigue is a common cause of car accidents every single day. Fatigue impairs a driver’s cognitive and motor skills, making it difficult to react to road conditions and other drivers. Lack of sleep affects a driver’s ability to concentrate, make decisions, and maintain focus on the road. It also slows down reaction times, increases the likelihood of making mistakes, and increases the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.

These factors make drowsy driving a major contributor to car accidents, especially on long trips or during overnight hours. Additionally, many people who engage in drowsy driving are unaware of how their lack of sleep is affecting their ability to drive, which exacerbates the problem. Shift workers, truck drivers, and young drivers may drive fatigued, causing serious and fatal car accidents.

Poor Road Conditions

Car accidents caused by bad roads often leave accident victims unsure of where they can turn for compensation. After all, you can’t sue a road. But you can file a claim against the government entity or county responsible for maintaining that road. Potholes, dangerous curves, lack of guardrails, and poorly designed roads can all contribute to traffic accidents.

Bad Weather

Poor weather, such as rain, snow, fog, and ice, can reduce visibility and make roads slippery. When this happens car accidents occur, causing serious injuries and often multi-car pileups. Additionally, strong winds, heavy rain or snow, and other severe weather conditions can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, leading to accidents.

Poor weather can also result in reduced traction and braking ability, making it harder for drivers to stop their vehicles in a timely manner. As a result, it is important for drivers to take extra caution and adjust their driving behavior to accommodate for poor weather conditions.

When drivers fail to adjust their driving to account for poor weather and reduced visibility, they can be held liable for any car accidents that occur. Driver error is a common cause of these car accidents.

Call the Boohoff Law Firm if a Car Accident Injures You

At the Boohoff Law Firm, we believe no one should suffer physically, financially, or emotionally due to the reckless behavior of another driver. While we all take a risk when we get behind the wheel, those who choose to do so after drug or alcohol use are making a dangerous choice. Other dangerous choices include sending and receiving texts and deliberately driving in an aggressive manner.

A driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. When someone crashes into your vehicle, you may face serious injuries that result in extensive medical bills. Let our legal team in Washington fight for justice for you. To schedule a free evaluation of your case, call (877) 999-9999 or contact us online.

Our attorneys can come to you. If you are unable to visit one of our offices due to your injuries, we can visit you in the hospital or in your home. Don’t delay—the sooner we review your case, the sooner we can decide upon the best course of action for you.

June 10, 2023
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