Causes of San Antonio Car Accidents

As one of the most populous cities both in Texas and in the United States, San Antonio sees its share of traffic and traffic accidents. While car accidents can happen both in rural areas as well as urban ones, there are some common causes, regardless of how busy the roads are. Here is a look at some of those causes.


Modern life has us all racing from one place to the next. However, if you’re racing down the roadway—literally or figuratively—or going too fast for the road conditions, you put everyone on that road at risk. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is involved in more than a quarter of the fatal accidents in the nation. In Texas, according to annual statistics provided by the state Department of Transportation, speeding was a contributing factor in 1,842 urban area crashes in 2017, including 149 fatal crashes and 201 suspected serious injury accidents.

  • 150 speeding drivers died on Texas roadways in 2017, along with 34 passengers in speeding vehicles, 66 people in other vehicles who were not speeding, and 17 pedestrians.
  • Even if you’re driving below the posted speed limit, speed can be a factor on bad road conditions or at night when streets are not well lit, per the NHTSA.
  • Speeding not only makes it harder to control your vehicle, but it also increases the time it takes you to stop if you perceive danger, and reduces the effectiveness of your car’s protective equipment.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving, or driver inattention, is one of the most common contributing causes of traffic accidents. In 2017, 449 people were killed in Texas due to distracted driving, and driver inattention was listed as a contributing cause for more than 71,000 accidents in the state’s urban areas. Distractions in the vehicle contributed to another 8,764 accidents in Texas’ urban areas. Some distractions to drivers that may cause an accident include:

  • Cell phone use - Texting was a contributing cause for 965 Texas accidents in 2017. Talking on a cell phone contributed to more than 800 accidents, and more than 1,500 accidents had cell phone use not otherwise specified as a contributing factor.
  • Eating or drinking
  • Smoking
  • Other passengers or pets in the car
  • Vehicle controls, such as air conditioning controls, windshield wipers, or music volume controls.
  • Accidents or other distractions outside of the vehicle

Drunk or Drugged Driving

The Texas Department of Transportation reports that there were 1,024 people killed in accidents due to a driver being under the influence of alcohol in 2017. DUI crashes most often happen between 2-3 am and the most common day for a DUI crash is Sunday. Other facts about drunk and drugged driving in Texas and beyond include:

  • The NHTSA reports that 29 people die every day in the nation due to drunk driving. Alcohol is a contributing factor in about one-third of all traffic crash fatalities.
  • Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive safely, as alcohol impairs thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination.
  • It is illegal in every state to drive while impaired by drugs, even if the drugs were prescribed to you or were purchased over the counter.
  • In Texas in 2017, nearly 400 accidents were caused at least in part by a driver taking medication. 3,108 accidents were caused due to drugged driving.

Following Too Closely

Following too closely, also known as tailgating, is the chief cause of rear-end collisions and nearly 25,000 accidents in the state in 2017 had this listed as a contributing factor. According to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, following too closely is described as situations where one vehicle is following another vehicle so closely that even if the following driver is attentive of the actions of the vehicle ahead, he or she could not avoid a collision if the driver in front brakes suddenly.

For passenger vehicles and light trucks, it is recommended that drivers keep at least three seconds between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. In adverse weather conditions, or if the driver is driving a tractor-trailer, that amount of space should increase. The FMCSA reports that five percent of accidents involving commercial trucks occur because the commercial truck driver is following another vehicle too closely.

Improper Lane Change

Improper lane changes occur when one vehicle leaves the lane it is in either without signaling or without the driver checking his or her mirrors and blind spots. This is the cause of most sideswipe accidents. According to the Department of Transportation, improper lane change was the cause of 37,439 accidents in Texas in 2017, including 55 fatal accidents and 447 serious injury crashes.

Failure to Stop for a Red Light or Stop Sign

In 2017, 761 people were killed in accidents in or involving the state’s intersections. Most intersection crashes occur due to drivers failing to stop for a red light or a stop sign. Running red lights or failing to stop at a stop sign increases the risk of T-bone type car accident, and also increases the risk of injury or death to pedestrians and bicyclists using the crosswalk in the intersection.

Defective Parts

4,159 accidents were caused in Texas in 2017 due to defective or slick tires, including 76 fatal accidents and 190 accidents involving serious injury. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, defective parts and improper maintenance result in thousands of crashes each year. Of the crashes caused or contributed to by defective parts, most were due to problems with tires or brakes. Other defective auto parts that may cause or contribute to a crash include:

  • Accelerators that stick
  • Electrical system failures
  • Airbags that deploy when they’re not supposed to
  • Steering wheel components that cause an inability to control a vehicle
  • Issues with headlights, taillights, and brake lights
  • Failed turning signals
  • Defective latches that cause seats to unexpectedly recline
  • Components that break or fall off of the vehicle while it is in operation

Get Help Today for Your San Antonio Car Accident

If you were injured in a car accident, it may be time to let a skilled personal injury attorney seek compensation on your behalf. Contact the legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas online or call our office in San Antonio at (210) 225-0909 for a free consultation to determine the best path forward for your case.

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