Leading Causes of Car Accidents

What Are the Main Causes of Car Accidents?

Car accidents can occur for a variety of reasons but almost all of these causes stem from driver negligence. to learn more about each specific type, our San Antonio car accident attorneys break down some common claims that they see on a regular basis, including:

Driving While Intoxicated

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol causes a driver’s abilities behind the wheel to decline steeply. Not only do many drivers lose motor control as inebriation increases, they may lose decision-making capacity. Tunnel vision can make it incredibly difficult to see what happens on the road around them. Many drivers under the influence also behave erratically: they may swerve across traffic, stop abruptly, or even drive very slowly to avoid appearing intoxicated.

Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for other drivers to predict their behavior. Drunk drivers may also fail to react properly when a drunk driving accident does occur, which can increase the injuries suffered by all parties.

Using a Smartphone or Other Forms of Distracted Driving

Most drivers know that they should not use their phones while behind the wheel—98 percent of drivers admit to knowing that distracted driving can increase danger on the road, but an average of 49 percent report texting and driving anyway.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Distraction does not only have to take the form of smartphone use, either. Some distracted drivers may suffer distraction due to a conversation with someone else in the car or dealing with children bickering in the back seat. Drivers may struggle to keep their eyes on the road while wrangling with a GPS device or trying to change the radio or heat settings. Drivers may also suffer immense distraction when eating or drinking behind the wheel, especially if they try to eat something messy.

Running Stop Signs or Red Lights

Stop signs and red lights serve as a clear indicator of who can proceed through an intersection next. Unfortunately, some drivers ignore them outright, blasting through the intersection as they please with no regard for anyone else’s presence. Running stop signs and red lights can cause T-bone accidents, which can cause severe injury to the party on the side of the car that takes the impact.

Failure to Yield

Yielding to oncoming traffic, or yielding at a sign, can help keep the flow of traffic moving smoothly. These signs exist to help drivers maintain the natural flow of traffic. Unfortunately, some drivers try to force their way on through, hoping that the other driver will stop to let them out. As a result, both drivers may suffer serious injury.

Merging or Changing Lanes Improperly

Changing lanes or merging onto a busy highway poses risks, especially for larger vehicles. The drivers of these vehicles may have large blind spots, causing them to miss the presence of smaller vehicles beside them. Other drivers may try to force their way over into the lane they want to travel in, regardless of whether they have adequate room to merge. Trying to merge without adequate room can quickly cause an accident, often with severe injuries.

Lane Departure

The clearly-designated lanes on a road exist to show drivers what space they can use for their vehicles. Some drivers, however, may drift out of their assigned lanes, causing them to sideswipe another vehicle. Lane departure often occurs due to distraction, but it can also occur when the driver of a large vehicle fails to properly judge its size and drifts into another lane or when drivers take a turn too wide or too sharply.

Fatigued Driving

Drowsy driving poses many of the same hazards as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fatigued drivers can struggle to properly control the vehicle. Many of them have trouble keeping their eyes on the road or may no longer properly notice what happens around them, especially if they catch themselves drifting off.

Sleepy Driving Accident Causes

Too many hours behind the wheel can also increase the risk that drivers will take reckless chances to reach their destination faster. Worse, some drivers may drift off behind the wheel. A sleepy driver obviously has no control over his vehicle, which means he can take no steps to avoid an accident or decrease its severity.


Many drivers choose to speed to decrease the time needed to reach their destinations. They need to get there fast. They have little patience for everyone else around them. They want others to get out of their way, and they will rush off to make that happen.

Speeding, however, does not typically actually reduce the time needed to reach the driver’s destination by much. It does, however, considerably increase the driver’s risk of causing a serious accident. Speeding drivers cannot respond as fast to potential hazards around them. They need more room to stop, slow, and maneuver the vehicle. At higher rates of speed, they may not respond fast enough to avoid an accident, causing serious injuries.

Speeding can also increase the risk of serious injuries when an accident does occur. Speeding drivers have more force behind their vehicles when they collide, which can cause more damage to the impacted vehicles and the people in them.


Like speeding, tailgating often occurs because drivers are in a hurry. Rushed drivers may choose to tailgate because they want to hurry other drivers along or feel that they have chosen to drive too slowly. Drivers may also tailgate out of a sense of road rage: they want to “punish” another driver for cutting them off, failing to yield, or driving too slowly in front of them.

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Unfortunately, tailgating also significantly increases the risk of an accident. Driving too closely behind another vehicle means that the driver may not have enough time to stop if the other vehicle stops or slows abruptly. Driving too close can also prevent the other driver from seeing anything else that happens on the road, raising the risk that he will fail to notice potential hazards around him.

Regardless of what led to your accident, if another party caused the accident due to negligence on the road, a San Antonio personal injury attorney can help.

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