What Are the Main Causes of Car Accidents?

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the main causes of car accidents include vehicle, driver, environmental and unknown factors. Drivers account for about 94 percent of traffic accidents. The NHTSA’s Crash Causation Survey states vehicle, environmental, and unknown factors are each about two percent of the total critical reasons that are identified as collision causes.

When a Driver Is the Critical Reason That Caused the Crash

Driver behavior is one of the main causes of car accidents. The NHTSA data breaks driver errors down into these subgroups:

  • Recognition mistakes: These mistakes may occur because of distractions inside and outside of the vehicle, the driver’s lack of attention, and failure to keep a proper lookout. Recognition mistakes represent more than 40 percent of operator errors that result in car accidents.
  • Decision errors: These mistakes account for about one-third of all driver-related causes of crashes. This category includes things like speeding, tailgating, driving recklessly, and incorrectly judging the speed of other cars or space the driver has to complete an action (e.g., passing another vehicle).
  • Mistakes surrounding the driver’s performance: Overreacting like steering too sharply and failing to keep the vehicle in control and in the correct direction, are examples of performance errors, which cause more than 10 percent of accidents.
  • Other errors not related to performance: Most of these mistakes involve the driver falling asleep at the wheel. About seven percent of all driver-associated causes fall into this group.
  • Additional, unspecified reasons: Unknown or unspecified reasons cause eight percent of all driver-caused accidents.

If you could somehow remove all of these driver mistakes, you could eliminate all but six percent of car accidents.

How Issues With the Vehicle Can Cause or Contribute to Collisions

Even though problems with the vehicle only cause about two percent of all motor vehicle accidents, this group contains four distinct subcategories:

  • Unspecified vehicle issues
  • Tires and wheels
  • Issues with brakes
  • Problems with the engine, suspension, transmission, or steering of the car

The NHTSA cautions that these groups only include vehicle problems that are visible from the exterior of the vehicle. Problems with a component inside the car or not readily seen from the outside could be responsible for additional accidents.

Causation Factors Related to the Environment in Vehicle Accidents

The NHTSA states that the environment is a critical reason for car accidents in only about two percent of all crashes. The top environmental factors leading to collisions are slick roads (50 percent) and glare (17 percent). Additional environmental factors that get blamed for car accidents include:

  • Obstructed view
  • Weather conditions like snow, rain, and fog
  • Other weather situations
  • The design of the road, such as improper grading or banking for a curve in the road
  • Signals and signs malfunctioning or not being present

The NHTSA warns that these factors do not necessarily represent the main causes of a car accident because sometimes the records include environmental and non-environmental reasons for crashes, like driver error.

Why Some Causes of Crashes Are Unknown

The Crash Causation Survey report also states that in about two percent of all investigated road accidents, officials cannot determine the cause. While this might sound surprising, the statement makes sense when you dig a little deeper.

As an example, say that a deputy sheriff discovered a mangled car with a deceased person inside or with no driver or passenger present at the scene. If the physical evidence does not reveal what led to the accident, and there are no eyewitnesses, the officer might have to select “unknown” as the critical reason for the incident.

How a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Car Accident Injury Claim

The law does not force you to work with a lawyer on your car accident injury claim, but they may provide you legal information you may not already know. Our clients at The Kryder Law Group, LLC, get to focus on recovering from their accidents because we take care of their legal matters. They do not have to stress about dealing with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance carrier while trying to recuperate from their injuries.

The Kryder Law Group, LLC, focuses on personal injury cases. We take great pride in helping people who get hurt because of someone else’s carelessness. If you got injured in a car accident in Chicago or the surrounding areas, you might be eligible for compensation. Our team of car accident lawyers can help you go after the money damages that you are entitled to. You can call us today at (312) 223-1700 for a free consultation.

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