An In Depth Look at the Causes of Car Accidents Part 2Trusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. January 02, 2018
Part two of our updated causes of car accidents deals with more of the causes that have been listed as contributors to car accidents in general. Part one of this series can be accessed here: An In-Depth Look at the Causes of Car Accidents Part 1
Teenage drivers have a higher accident rate than adults with a risk of a crash that is higher among 16 to 19-year-olds than any other age group. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distraction is a factor in 60% of moderate to severe accidents involving teenagers. The most common distractions for teens include:
- Interacting with a passenger: 15% of accidents
- Using a cell phone: 12%
- Looking at something in the car: 10%
- Looking at something outside of the car: 9%
- Singing or dancing to music: 8%
- Grooming, such as putting on makeup: 6%
- Reaching for an item: 6%
Weather can reduce pavement friction, traction, visibility, and maneuverability on the road. Rain, high winds, fog, and flooding can all play a role in road conditions and driver safety. On average, the Federal Highway Administration reports 1.2 million crashes every year which are related to weather. The majority of weather-related accidents occur on wet pavement (76%) and during rain (46%). Every year, about 7,000 people are killed in accidents involving weather hazards, but rain causes more fatalities than snow in 39 of 50 states.
The reason rain is more hazardous than snow is that rain makes roads slick, especially when it hasn’t rained recently due to oil residue build-up on the road. Rain can also impair visibility.
According to the National Safety Council, the risk of a fatal car accident is three times higher at night than during the day. There are many reasons for this. Reduced visibility can make it harder to see hazards at night, including pedestrians, animals, and potholes. Darkness can also compromise color recognition, depth perception, and peripheral vision. The glare of oncoming headlights can even be blinding. Visibility is limited to 250 feet with normal headlights and about 500 feet with high beams. This means less time to react to anything on the road.
The rates of driving without a seatbelt, speeding, and drunk driving also increase at night and directly contribute to fatalities. Across the country, 49% of all fatal accidents happen at night. About two-thirds of people killed in accidents at night were not wearing seatbelts compared to less than half during the day.
Weekends are also a more deadly time to drive. While mid-week days have an average of 96 to 100 deaths per day, an average of 143 people die per day on Saturday and Sunday.
Running Red Lights
There are many ways for an accident to occur, but many occur at intersections. More people are hurt in accidents involving a driver running a red light than any other type of accident. Drivers who run red lights cause over 800 deaths per year and more than 200,000 injuries across the country. More than half of the people killed in these accidents are pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles — not the driver running the red light, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Researchers have found that the use of red light cameras that photograph and mail tickets to drivers who run red lights can reduce these accidents. These programs can reduce red-light running by around 40%.
It may be surprising, but animal crossings cause thousands of accidents every year. Collisions with deer, elk, and moose are responsible for the greatest amount of deaths, injuries, and property damage. The chances of striking a large animal on the road is highest between October and December which is deer mating season.
According to State Farm, the average cost for a deer-vehicle collision is almost $4,000. Florida is considered a low-risk state with 1 out of 903 drivers making a claim for a deer collision, but neighboring Georgia is high-risk with 1 out of every 126 drivers reporting an accident.
We urge you to stay safe on the roads at all times, and if you or a loved one has been injured as a result of the negligence or fault of another in a road traffic accident please call our injury law team for a free case evaluation. We are available to take your call 24/7. Dial 800-538-4878 to speak with a member of our dedicated injury law team.