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The Different Causes of Road Collisions in the USA

Traffic accidents and road collisions are the most common type of mishaps in the United States of America. In one of their latest reports, the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the number of fatalities due to road accidents in 2021 in the USA at approximately 42915, a 10.5% increase from 2020. 

The NHTSA carries out routine research to uncover patterns and leading causes behind road collisions across the 50 states. Surveys and researches conducted with state authorities reveal a list of factors that directly contribute to a collision of four data elements, namely:

  • Movement before the critical event leading to the crash;
  • The critical pre-crash event
  • The critical reason for the pre-crash event;
  • The different crash-associated aspects;

Let’s have a closer look at all the different factors that together act as the causes of car accidents.

The Critical Reasons for the Critical Pre-Crash Event

Critical pre-crash causes of road accidents are generally the immediate reason that set up the pre-crash event and directly lead to the accident. They are usually the last failure in the chain of causality leading to the collision. Though the critical reasons play an important role in the occurrence of a road collision, they are not the cause of the crash and also should not be interpreted as the fault of any party involved. However, understanding these pre-crash causes is critical to understanding how to prevent road accidents.

Critical Pre-Crash Reasons are generally attributed to the Driver (94%), Vehicles (2%), Environment (2%), and Unknown critical reasons (2%).

The most common critical reasons assigned to drivers are as follows:

  • Recognition Errors (41%) include distraction, poor surveillance and spatial awareness, etc.
  • Decision Errors (33%) such as speeding, reckless driving, driving too fast in a condition, too fast for a curve, false assumptions, illegal manoeuvring, misjudgment, etc 
  • Performance Errors (11%) including overcompensation, poor directional control, etc 
  • Non-performance errors (7%) with the leading cause behind such errors being fatigue and sleep deprivation 
  • There are other critical miscellaneous reasons attributed as well which account for around 8%.

The most common critical reasons attributed to vehicles are: 

  • Tires/wheel-related causes (35%)
  • Brakes-related (22%)
  • Steering/ transmission/suspension/engine-related (3%)
  • Other/unknown vehicle-related problems (40%)

Next up, the most common critical reasons attributed to the immediate environment are:

  • Slick and wet roads (50%)
  • Glare (17%)
  • Obstruction of View (11%)
  • Other conditions (9%)
  • Fog/rain/snow (4%)
  • Signals and Signage (3%)
  • Road Designs (1%)

Now, let us take a closer look at the most prominent factors that result from these critical pre-crash events and directly lead to a collision. 

Top Causes of Car Accidents

Here are the most common causes of road accidents across the United States:

  • Distracted Driving

Distractions can be devastating and deadly. A momentary lapse of attention or lack of focus while driving may change the course of one’s life, and accidents due to distracted driving are exceedingly common across the United States.

  • Speeding 

There’s a reason why roads and highways have speed limits. If you exceed and then lose control, you are not just putting your life in danger but endangering others too.

  • Driving Under Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or any psychotropic drug generally leads to a lack of focus, awareness, and/or coordination. DUIs are another extremely common reason reasons behind road collisions across the USA.

  • Reckless Driving

Driving without paying any heed to the rules of the road and utter disregard for others amount to reckless driving. Collisions due to reckless driving can be considered a criminal offense in almost every state.

  • Bad Weather Conditions (Rain and Storms, Ice Snow, Fog, etc.)

Bad weather conditions can lead to reduced visibility, poor road conditions, and loss of control.

  • Disobeying Traffic Rules: Running Stop Signs and Red Lights, etc.

Ignoring traffic signage, flouting rules of the road, and being reckless about it can lead to devastating consequences and far worse.

  • Inexperienced Driving 

Teenagers and novice drivers often get overwhelmed and confused with all the different things happening all around as they are driving. It is the utter lack of experience that leads to mishaps. 

  • Poor Road Conditions

Bad road conditions are major contributors to auto accidents across the country.

  • Unsafe Lane Changes

Sudden lane changes and swerving across lanes can be dangerous, especially during heavy traffic. 

  • Driving Up The Wrong Way

This is completely illegal and will surely land you in jail simply because you are putting yourself and everybody else in danger.

  • Turning Without Looking

Using rear and side view mirrors before executing turns is essential unless you want someone to crash into you.

  • Tailgating

Driving too close to the tail-end of a vehicle is akin to inviting a rear-end collision with them.

  • Vehicle Faults

Mechanical faults such as tire bursts, brake and suspension failures, etc., are quite common causes of car accidents.

  • Fatigued Driving
  • Fatigued Driving

Sleep deprivation and inadequate rest can lead to drowsiness, lack of focus, and, eventually, a fatal auto accident.

And that’s about it. Nonetheless, if you have been embroiled in a car accident case, then L. Clayton Burgess is here to help you. Work with leading car accident attorneys in Chicago and personal injury attorneys and attain sure-fire success with the maximum compensation!

Read This Blog Also: Does Comparative Fault Apply To Insurance Claims?

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