Written by attorney Jimmy Doan

The 10 Most Common Causes of Auto Accidents

The story is always the same: it wasn’t my fault.

But statistics refute the statement. According to several studies from both the US and abroad, the number-one cause of car accidents is not an icy road, not a pothole, not a drunk driver, but you. You driving while doing something else, you misjudging your speed, or you just not paying attention.

But, frankly, of the myriad causes of accidents, the main impetus for accidents is distraction. A distracted driver is someone who momentarily diverts his attention from the road to do something else in the car -- like talking on a cell phone, sending a text message or eating. Although to you, the car feels like a sanctuary, it weighs more than a ton and becomes a moving battering ram that can kill as easily as it can get you across town. When you fail to pay attention to the car -- or the consequences of the car -- by putting on makeup, reading directions, talking on the phone, texting, whatever, you risk not only your life, but the lives of others.

So, based on you already being distracted, the common causes of accidents, from number-two through ten are listed below. Warning: don’t read them while driving.

  1. Speeding

Even if you’re paying attention, driver skill level is based on experience. Watching stock car racing on TV doesn’t make you an expert. If you exceed the speed limit, you exceed your experience level and you exceed the training you’ve had. Plus, of course there’s the physics of speed, which at some point makes it impossible to keep the car on the road. That means that even professionals will find a point where they can’t stay on the road. You aren’t professional. Slow down.

  1. Drunk Driving

When you drink, you obviously become impaired. Not only do you lose the ability to react to situations, you lose the judgment to choose to do so. Driving under the influence is more than hazardous. It is murderous.

  1. Reckless Driving

If the term ‘Reckless driving’ is foreign to you, you may be an offender. It’s basically people who have no regard for anybody else, driving as they see fit under circumstances that can’t handle their speed. It’s more than just speed, including those who change lanes too quickly, tailgaters, impatient drivers, and so on. Relax. You aren’t the only person on the road. Don’t drive as if you are.

  1. Weather Concerns

When the weather turns ugly, auto accidents occur. Water creates slick surfaces, slick surfaces mean skidding, and skidding means crashes. Then there’s snow and ice. Enough said. Slow down in bad weather.

  1. Failure to Stop at Signs and Lights

You may think you can make the light – and you may make it most times. But the one time you don’t could be the last time you ever drive. Drivers who run red lights are some of the biggest killers on the road. And every year, thousands of accidents and hundreds of death occur because a driver ran a stop sign or plowed through a red light. ‘Stop’ isn’t a suggestion. It’s the law.

  1. Teenage Drivers

Insurance companies don’t charge teens based on if they’ll have an accident, but when they’ll have an accident. Lack of experience is a killer. Teach your teens to be diligent and treat every occasion for driving as a serious task.

  1. Night Driving

Night driving nearly doubles the risk of an accident. Your ability to scan the area for potential problems is limited at night to the sweep of the headlights. At the same time, night drivers may also experience fatigue quicker, which leads to accidents. Avoid night driving if at all possible.

  1. Poorly Maintained Vehicles and Design Defects

Automobiles often have defective designs or defective parts. Those malfunctions can cause a serious accident. But more often it’s operator neglect that causes accidents. Not doing regular maintenance is a recipe for disaster. To keep safe, keep your car maintained and keep up on design flaw recalls on newer cars.

  1. Unsafe Lane Changes

When drivers move over without warning accidents occur. To prevent accidents, use your turn signal, check your blind spots and always proceed carefully into the next lane. Or, if you’re not moving over, watch the traffic next to you and anticipate their moves. Don’t drive in blind spots and be aware of possible bad drivers.

Those are the top ten, but they’re certainly not the only issues of road hazard. Wrong-way driving, improper turns, tailgating, road rage, road hazards, driving while sleepy, fog, animals, among others also kill innocent people each year.

In short, everything is a hazard. And anyone with a license needs to anticipate danger whenever behind the wheel. It’s not just your life, but the whole driving public’s that’s at stake. If you are in such a legal situation then you should contact a Houston car accident attorney at our firm by calling 800-284-5983 today.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Doan Law Firm is a firm helping the victims of personal injury accidents fight for the financial compensation they deserve in Houston, Texas. With a dedicated legal team and years of experience, they are able to offer comprehensive legal support no matter if their clients have suffered from a serious injury, a car accident, a trucking accident or others. They are completely devoted to client success and will stop at nothing in their efforts to bring aggressive aid to the victims of these accidents. If you have recently been in an accident such as this and would like to learn more about the firm, please visit:

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Avvo personal injury email series

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer