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What are the main causes of car accidents?

Unfortunately, car accidents are very common in the United States. While some of these accidents are minor, others can cause serious damages and injuries. Knowing the major causes of car accidents is one way to avoid being in a collision. Learn more about the most common causes of car accidents and how we can prevent them.

Distracted Driving

Image via Flickr by State Farm

It will likely come as no surprise that distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents. Driving and multitasking never mix because anything that takes your attention away from the road becomes a safety issue. In fact, the CDC reports that car crashes involving a distracted driver injure approximately 1,000 people every day in the U.S.

While changing the radio, talking to passengers, eating, drinking, looking at a map, and grooming can all cause distractions, using a cellphone is by far the main cause of distracted driving. If you’re driving 55 miles per hour and send or read a text for 5 seconds, you’ll end up traveling the length of a football field without having your eyes on the road. This is why it’s crucial to reduce driver distractions as much as possible.

Night Driving

Driving during the day is sometimes hard enough, but when you add low visibility during night, driving becomes even more difficult. That’s why night driving is another main cause of accidents. When you can’t see what’s ahead of you on the road, you have a hard time preparing to react. To help avoid night driving accidents, reduce your speed, use your high beams when you’re on a road with no streetlights and no other traffic, and increase your awareness of what’s around you.


Although it’s tempting to push the speed limit if you’re running late, it’s an easy way to get into an accident. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react to unexpected situations. Unfortunately, not only is speeding a main cause of car accidents, but it’s also a leading cause of death. The NHTSA reports that for more than two decades, speed has played a role in around one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities.

Drunk Driving

There’s a reason why driving after consuming alcohol is a serious crime. Driving requires the ability to concentrate, quickly react to different situations, and make proper judgments. Even a small amount of alcohol in your system can cause you to lose focus and slow down your reaction time. While drunk driving might be one of the main causes of accidents, it’s also one of the easiest to avoid. Always have a designated driver when you plan on going out. If you had anything to drink while you’re out, have a sober friend drive or call for a ride.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving can encompass a variety of reckless behaviors, such as tailgating, changing lanes too quickly and without signaling, disregarding traffic laws, and even extreme speeding. Emotions like anger and frustration are dangerous when you’re behind the wheel. To help prevent aggressive driving, leave plenty of time to get to your destination so you’re not feeling rushed or stressed, be considerate on the road, and take a deep breath to help yourself calm down. If you witness an aggressive driver, avoid eye contact and don’t respond.


Even though fatigue isn’t brought up a lot, it’s still one of the main causes of car accidents in the West Covina area. Drowsy driving is a condition that can affect anyone at any time. However, it’s most common at night. Sleep deprivation, driving when tired from other activities, and driving too long are also common causes of driving while fatigued. If you find yourself getting tired behind the wheel, pulling over to walk around for 15 minutes or taking a 30-minute nap can help.


When the weather gets bad, the roads become more dangerous. That’s why poor weather is a leading cause of car accidents. While you rarely have to deal with ice or snow on the roads in Southern California, you do have to manage rain.

Not only can heavy rain cause poor visibility, but it can also cause roads to become slippery. Roads are most slippery when it first starts raining because the water mixes with all the dust and oil that haven’t washed away. Too much water on the roadway can also cause your vehicle to hydroplane, which is when your tires lose contact with the surface of the road.


Like most things in life, you get better at driving the more you do it. Unfortunately, when teen drivers hit the road, they don’t always know how to handle unexpected situations. This lack of experience can lead to an accident. If you’re a parent of teen drivers, make sure they have plenty of experience dealing with different situations on the road before they start driving alone. You can also limit the number of passengers your teens are allowed to have in the car and be sure they understand the importance of not using a cellphone while driving.

Car Defects

Sometimes the vehicle itself can cause an auto accident. Cars contain hundreds of parts. If any of these parts suddenly break or stop working while you’re driving, they could cause you to have a serious accident. While you can’t always avoid this, making sure you keep up with recalls and proper maintenance of your vehicle can help.


Wild animals can unexpectedly dart out in the street, and it’s up to you to avoid hitting them. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that people will swerve into other objects, which is why animals are one of the main causes of car accidents. To help avoid having a collision with an animal, always pay attention to the sides of the road in woody or rural areas. You should also use extra caution when you see an animal crossing sign since this indicates an area where wild animals are common.

While we hope you’re never in a car accident, if you are looking for a reputable car accident lawyer in West Covina, please contact Lem Garcia Law and discover how we can help you.