43 Causes of Car Crashes: What the Latest Statistics For 2022 Tell Us

Table of Contents

Causes of Car Crashes

It’s an unfortunate reality that many of us will be involved in a car accident at some point during our lives. In the United States, there are approximately 6 million car accidents each year – and about 1.3 million people injured from these accidents.

In this blog post, we will discuss 43 of the most common causes of car crashes. Keep these in mind when you’re driving and you’ll be much more likely to stay safe on the road!

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know what causes car crashes so that you can avoid them.

Autonomous Vehicles

To date, there have been 12 total deaths that came via Tesla’s self driving vehicles. But while many Americans still feel uneasy about the idea of self driving cars, the number of incidents between self driving cars and manually operated cars has shown that autonomous teslas are 92% less likely to crash than manually driven ones.

As the technology becomes more common place, we will likely get a better grasp of the data and learn more about the public perception and safety of these vehicles.

Driver inattention

This is the number one cause of car crashes in the United States. Driver inattention can be caused by many different things, including using a cell phone, texting, eating, drinking, or talking to passengers. If you’re not paying attention to the road, you’re much more likely to be involved in an accident. 

Distracted driving accounts for 14% of all crashes in the United States.

Drunk driving

Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of car crashes in the United States. In fact, it’s responsible for around 1/3 of all car crash fatalities. The best way to avoid drunk driving is to never get behind the wheel after drinking. If you do find yourself in a situation where you’ve had too much to drink, be sure to call a taxi or have a friend drive you home.

Drug driving

Drug driving is another leading cause of car crashes in the United States. It can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, and it’s important to be aware of the dangers of drug driving. Some common signs that a driver is under the influence of drugs include weaving in and out of traffic, driving too slowly or too quickly, and having trouble staying in lanes.

If you suspect that someone is driving while under the influence of drugs, do not hesitate to call the police.

16% of fatalities involving drunk drivers also involves a positive toxicology test result.

Driving on prescription medicine

When you’re driving on prescription medication, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved. Some medications can make you drowsy, which can lead to accidents. It’s also important to follow the directions on your medication bottle, and never take more than the prescribed amount.

If you’re not sure whether it’s safe to drive while taking your medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, and it’s important to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving. It is very easy to lose concentration and for your mind to wander, especially on longer monotonous journeys on the highway.

To prevent this, make sure to pull over every hour for a short break to regain your focus and stay alert for the journey ahead.

Distracted driving led to over 3000 deaths in 2019.

Reckless driving 

Reckless driving is defined as “A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”. Such driving is much more likely to lead to accidents and collisions and is punishable with prison time and large fines. 

Careless and reckless driving led to over 3000 deaths in 2019.

Road rage

Road rage is a dangerous phenomenon that occurs when someone gets angry while driving. It can lead to violence and accidents, and it’s important to be aware of the dangers of road rage. Some common signs that someone is experiencing road rage include yelling, honking the horn, and making obscene gestures.

If you see someone exhibiting these signs, stay away from them and call the authorities when it is safe to do so.

Aggressive driving and road rage led to 3.7% of all road deaths in 2019.

Fatigue

Driver fatigue is a serious problem that can lead to car crashes. The main reasons for driver fatigue include lack of sleep, long hours behind the wheel, and driving in extreme weather conditions. If you’re tired, you’re much more likely to make mistakes while driving, which can lead to accidents.

If you’re feeling tired, be sure to pull over and take a break. You can also try drinking caffeinated beverages or listening to music to stay alert.

Drowsy, asleep, fatigued, ill, or blacked out driving lead to over 1200 deaths in 2019.

Speeding

Speeding is a contributing factor in nearly all serious accidents. This is because speeding gives the driver and people around less time to react to the danger posed by a speeding vehicle. It also increases the time it takes to stop a speeding vehicle.

The chances of surviving an accident drastically decrease the faster a vehicle is traveling. 

In high income countries, speed contributes to about 30% of road deaths.

Failed to yield right of way 

The rules of the road teach drivers when to yield right of way. Failing to yield the right of way is very likely to lead to a car crash. This is because the other driver will be acting in the understanding that other road users are educated and know who has right of way in any given scenario.

Failure to yield right of way led to almost 4000 deaths in 2019.

Unsafe passing maneuvers 

When you want to make a passing maneuver, it is important to always follow the correct procedure. Maneuvering without properly checking and indicating is likely to lead to accidents with other road users who are unable to predict or react in time to an unsafe passing maneuver. This can lead to a serious accident, especially if at high speeds such as on the highway. 

Unsafe maneuvres led to over 1500 deaths in 2019.

Following too closely / tailgating

When someone follows another car too closely, it can lead to dangerous accidents. Tailgating is especially dangerous as it leaves the driver with very little time to react should the driver in front need to brake sharply for any unknown reason.

This means the car behind that is tailgating will collide with the back of the car and it may also cause an accident with nearby cars too. Always leave enough space to stop should the car in front need to suddenly brake. 

Aggressive driving led to almost 2000 crash related deaths in 2019.

Rain

Rain can be a major cause of car accidents. When it’s raining, visibility is reduced, and roads can be slick. This makes it much more difficult to drive, and increases the chances of getting into a crash. Drivers should take caution when driving in the rain, and should adjust their speed and driving habits accordingly.

46% of all bad weather related crashes happen during rain and 70% happen on wet roads.

Fog

When it is foggy, you are statistically much more likely to have an accident. This is because visibility is reduced, and it is harder to see and react to other drivers around you.

In foggy conditions always make sure to turn on your fog lights and to drive slower. This will ensure you have the time to react to any dangers as they will not be visible until the last moment. 

9% of all weather related car crash fatalities occur during foggy conditions.

Ice

Ice is a major cause of car accidents as many cars are not designed to be driven in such conditions. When ice forms on the road, it creates a dangerous slick surface that can cause cars to lose control.

Cars that are not equipped with suitable winter tires are especially susceptible to losing traction and as a result, often lead to serious car crashes.

13% of all weather related car crashes happen on icy roads.

Snow

When it’s snowing, visibility is reduced, and roads can be slick. This is because once snow has been compacted, it becomes a lot more slippery. This makes it much more difficult and dangerous to drive, and increases the chances of getting into a crash.

It is advised to only drive in snow and ice if necessary. Drivers should take extra caution when driving in the snow, and should adjust their speed and driving habits accordingly.

18% of all weather related crashes occur in snowy conditions.

Car defects / mechanical failure

Car defects can be a major cause of car accidents. When a car has a mechanical failure, it can often lead to a serious accident. Some of the most common car defects that can lead to an accident include:

• Defective brakes

• Malfunctioning engines

• Faulty steering systems

Poorly maintained tires

Pedestrian accidents  

When pedestrians are crossing the street, they can often at times be difficult to see. This is especially true late at night or when pedestrians simply cross the road in places where they shouldn’t.

This can lead to accidents where drivers swerve to avoid them, which can cause serious injuries. Drivers should always be aware of pedestrians, and should take caution when driving near them.

Bicycle accidents 

Bicycles are a common cause of car crashes. Cyclists are often not visible enough and some do not follow the rules of the road. This can lead to drivers being unsure how to react to bicycles and can lead to accidents and serious injuries. This is especially true for the cyclist.

Drivers should always be aware of bicyclists, and should leave them extra space when passing. 

Motorcycle accidents 

Motorcycles are just as likely to be in an accident as bicycles and are usually more serious as the speeds involved are usually faster. They are often hard to see, and when they are in an accident, they can on occasion go flying into the air.

28% of all crash related fatalities involves motorcycles.

Truck accidents

Trucks are often involved in accidents due to their large size and poor visibility of the driver. Due to their length and the space needed to maneuver a vehicle of such size, it is much more likely for a truck to be in an accident than a vehicle much smaller in size.

It also takes longer for a truck to come to an emergency stop and this is why it is not uncommon to see trucks involved in car crashes. 

27% of crashes in 2019 involved light trucks (SUV’S) while 2% involved large trucks.

Train accidents 

Train accidents are among the most serious types of crashes. Trains are unable to stop in short distances like most vehicles. Therefore any object that finds itself in the path of an oncoming train will end up in a very serious collision.

Always follow stop signs, only cross at designated crossing points and take extra care when crossing train tracks. 

Intersection accidents

Intersections are a common place for accidents to occur. When two or more cars are trying to turn in opposite directions, it can often lead to collisions. With many vehicles in a small area moving simultaneously, it is easy to make a mistake or not see another vehicle nearby.

Always make sure to follow the correct procedure when at an intersection

Failure to yield right of way led to over 7% of crash fatalities in 2019.

School bus accidents 

School buses are more likely to be involved in accidents than normal cars because of their large size and because they frequently need to pull over and stop at the side of the road. Because of their large size and heavy weight it also takes longer for a school bus to come to a stop. This may also contribute to it being more likely to be involved in a car crash. 

Since 2010 school buses have averaged 26000 crashes annually.

Damage to object in roadway

When roadways are damaged, it can cause drivers to swerve and react to avoid the damage. This can potentially be dangerous and lead to unintended accidents. It may also cause damage to the vehicle, which in turn may cause the driver to lose control and lead to a car crash.

If you see significant damage to the road, it is recommended to call the police and report it

Red lights

Red lights are a common site of car crashes. This is because some drivers will try to catch a light and in doing so cause an accident. Accidents are also caused by drivers thinking that the car in front of them is going to catch a light. They follow closely behind them at high speed, only for the car in front to brake at the light and cause the car behind to rear end them. 

Failure to obey traffic signs, signals, or officer led to 4% of all crash fatalities in 2019.

Stop signs

One common cause of car accidents is when drivers fail to stop at a stop sign. This can lead to a collision if another driver is coming around the corner and does not expect to see a car coming. Failing to stop at a stop sign can also lead to getting pulled over by the police.

Failure to obey traffic signs, signals, or officer led to 4% of all crash fatalities in 2019.

Improper reversing

Another common cause of car accidents is when drivers improperly back up. This is because the driver’s vision is more obscured trying to look backwards to see where they are going. It is important to always check your surroundings before maneuvering and use the correct procedure to minimize the likelihood of causing a collision. 

Driving the wrong way

Driving the wrong way down a one way street is an easy mistake to make. It is also a common cause of car crashes as other road users will not be expecting a vehicle to be coming the other way. Always make sure to follow all road signs to avoid making illegal turns and driving the wrong way down the street. 

Driving wrong way on one-way traffic or wrong side of road led to over 1200 deaths in 2019.

Tire blowouts

When a tire blows out, it can cause the driver to lose control of the car. This is especially likely at high speeds. This can lead to a collision with another car or object on the road. The reason for a tire blowout can be debris in the road or poor vehicle maintenance.

Always make sure to service your vehicle each year and to inspect the condition of your tires before setting off on your journey.

Street racing

Street racing is a common cause of car crashes amongst younger drivers. When drivers are racing, they may take risks that they wouldn’t normally take, which can lead to dangerous situations. With the higher speeds involved, this means that crashes involving street racing are also usually more serious. 

Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted limit or racing led to over 17% of crash fatalities in 2019.

Animals

While it’s not as common as some of the other causes on this list, animals can still be a cause of car crashes. Deer in particular are a common cause of accidents, especially in rural areas. If you see an animal in the road, try to avoid them if possible. If you can’t avoid them, be sure to slow down and give them plenty of room.

According to State Farm, there has been a 7.2% increase in vehicle collisions with animals. This accounts for about 2 million more animals being over the last year.

Suicide

Sadly it is known that people do use cars as a means to commit suicide. This usually involves just 1 car but sometimes can also be planned to involve multiple. It is extremely distressing and the family or friends of the victim may suffer from emotional trauma in the aftermath of such a tragedy.

Dangerous curves

There are many curves in the road that can be a cause of car crashes. One of the most dangerous types of curves is the S-curve. This type of curve can be difficult to navigate, and it’s easy to lose control while driving on them. If you’re driving on an S-curve, be sure to slow down and take your time. You should also make sure that you have plenty of space to maneuver if you need to stop suddenly.

Changing lane unsafely

Changing lanes unsafely can be a cause of car accidents because it can lead to drivers cutting each other off. This can often at times lead to drivers getting into accidents with each other. Drivers should always be aware of cars that are changing lanes, ensuring to always check their mirrors and indicate before maneuvering. 

Improper lane changes led to over 3300 deaths in 2019.

Improper turns

One of the most common causes of car accidents is improper turns. This can include turning too soon, or turning into oncoming traffic. When drivers make improper turns, it can often lead to a collision. Drivers should always take their time when making a turn, and should make sure that they have plenty of space to manoeuvre if they need to stop suddenly.

Making improper turns led to over 400 deaths in 2019.

Driver inexperience

Driver inexperience can be a cause of car accidents because it can lead to drivers taking risks that they wouldn’t normally take. When drivers are just starting out, they may not have the experience or knowledge to handle certain situations on the road. This can lead to dangerous situations and collisions.

Additionally, inexperienced drivers may not know how to properly respond in an emergency situation. This can put them and other drivers at risk.

Drawbridge accidents

Drawbridge accidents can be a cause of car accidents for many different reasons. One of the most common reasons is that drivers don’t slow down when they approach a drawbridge. This can lead to dangerous collisions with oncoming traffic.

Another common reason for drawbridge accidents is that drivers don’t know how to properly navigate the bridge. This can lead to missed turns and other dangerous situations. If you’re driving on a drawbridge, be sure to slow down and pay attention to the traffic signs.

Fallen trees

When a tree falls into the road, it can cause serious car accidents. This is particularly true if the tree is large or if it’s blocking both lanes of traffic. If you see a fallen tree in the road, do not attempt to drive around it. Instead, wait for the police or highway department to arrive and clear the road.

Debris

Debris can be a serious hazard on the road, and it can cause many car accidents. Some common types of debris include broken glass, metal scraps, and logs. If you see debris in the road, try to avoid it if possible. If you can’t avoid it, be sure to slow down and give yourself plenty of room.

Over a 3 year period, AAA found over 25000 cases of accidents involving road debris.

Unsecured loads

An unsecured load can be a serious hazard while driving. It can lead to objects falling out of the vehicle, which can cause accidents and damage other cars. It’s important to take the time to properly secure all loads before driving.

You can use ropes, straps, and bungee cords to secure them. Make sure that everything is tightly secured so that it won’t move around while you’re driving.

Night driving

It is shown that drivers are more likely to have an accident at night. This is because it is more difficult to see potential hazards in the road when it’s dark out. There are a few things you can do to stay safe while driving at night, including using your headlights, keeping your windshield clean, and avoiding distractions.

1500 deaths were caused by poor vision when driving in 2019.

What to do next 

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of the potential causes of car crashes. The hope here isn’t to scare you but to make you a safer and more aware driver. 

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!

Save Up to $250 on Goodyear Tires

We have partnered with Goodyear and Justtires.com to offer the best deal on the best tires on the market to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.

Leave a Comment