The 12 Most Common Reasons Car Accidents Occur (And How to Avoid Them)

February 13th, 2015 by

A young driver is shown looking concerned after a car collision.

The last thing you want to happen on your way to work or to pick the kids up from school is to be involved in an auto accident. This can warrant injuries, as well as expensive auto repair estimates to consider, which can add a lot of stress to your already hectic schedule. You never know what’s going to happen on the open road, which means that you always have to be prepared. Fortunately, you can do your part to reduce the risk of being involved in a crash by being aware of some common reasons why they happen in the first place.

#1. Speeding

We get it; you’re late to work, and you have an important meeting to attend. Although it’s tempting to push the pedal down a bit more when you’ve got somewhere to be, it’s one of the main causes of an accident occurring. The thing to remember here is that when you speed, you not only put yourself in danger of losing control of your vehicle but also those who are traveling around you. Our tip here is to stick to the speed limit, even if it means being a few minutes late to your meeting. It’s better than being involved in a dangerous accident.

#2. Failure to Maintain Your Vehicle

Regular maintenance is one of the most important responsibilities of a vehicle owner. Failure to keep up with maintenance and repairs can put you and others at risk on the road. Consider your tires, for example. Worn tires struggle to grip the road, which can cause you to lose control and potentially hit another vehicle. At McCluskey Chevrolet, we advise you to frequently maintain your vehicle so that it works optimally and safely for you for miles. You can do this by partnering with a reputable service center.

#3. Distracted Driving

There can be a lot on your mind while you’re traveling, or your ride can consist of your kids screaming at each other in the backseat. No matter what stressors accompany you on your drive, it’s important to focus on the road. Fortunately, new vehicles feature helpful safety and assistance tech to help you pay attention to what’s happening on your journey. Tune out the distractions and tune in to your vehicle, helping you get to where you’re going safely.

A car is shown speeding.

#4. Reckless Driving

You can’t control what other drivers will do on the road, whether someone cuts you off on the highway or steals your parking space at the grocery store. What you can control, however, is how you choose to react to this. It absolutely does not warrant speeding, aggressive behaviors, and failure to take other drivers into consideration. Put your emotions to the side and always prioritize the rules of the road.

#5. Following Too Closely

We’ve probably all been guilty of feeling frustrated with the driver in front of us who is driving 10 miles under the speed limit. Yes, it can be a nuisance; however, tailgating them isn’t going to get you to where you’re going faster. In fact, it has the potential to get you into an accident. Although many new cars are equipped with following distance technology, it’s up to you to pay attention and ease off from the driver in front of you. Try and pass them in the passing lane or, if you’re on a one-lane road, manifest some patience and ease off the accelerator.

#6. Inclement Weather

The weather can wreak havoc on your travels, and whether it’s snow, ice, wind, or rain you’re dealing with, it’s important to stay alert and stay safe. Many vehicles are equipped with all-wheel drive capabilities, which come in handy during this type of weather, but it’s up to you to do your part to maintain a secure ride. Slow down, be sure to stay a safe distance from the car in front of you, or pull off into a parking lot if you’re uncomfortable driving altogether. Your destination can wait.

#7. Driving Under the Influence

Enjoying a glass of wine or a refreshing cocktail is a popular way to unwind from the day. Although imbibing in your favorite drink can be relaxing, it can cause problems when you’re traveling. Driving under the influence is, unfortunately, a key player in many auto accidents. That’s why it’s advised to never get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you’ve been drinking. Call someone to pick you up, like a friend or a ride service, appoint a designated driver, or enjoy that glass of Chardonnay from the comfort of home.

#8. Failure to Signal

You may know exactly where you’re going, but the people driving around you don’t, which is why it’s imperative to use your turn signals. This is another big contributing factor to many accidents across the nation, and it can be avoided so simply. The best part about driving a new vehicle is that safety technology will alert you when you’ve crossed into a new lane without signaling. If you’re not already in the habit of regularly using your turn signals, now is the time to start implementing this safety tip into your everyday ride.

#9. Navigating Through Unfamiliar Territory

It’s difficult to maneuver through an unfamiliar city. After all, if you miss one turn, you have the potential to get completely lost. It’s important to be extremely cautious, especially if you’re unsure of where you’re going. Fortunately, many new cars are equipped with navigation or Bluetooth, which can connect to your smartphone. You need to ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if you miss your turn. You don’t screech to a halt and backtrack, but instead, make the next turn and get back on track.

A car is shown driving at night after doing auto repair estimates.

#10. Nighttime Driving

It seems as though everything takes on a different shape in the dark. If you find it challenging to drive at night, you’re certainly not alone, which is why it’s crucial to stay undeniably cautious. Many drivers choose to avoid nighttime driving altogether, but this can’t always be done. Instead, we advise you to maintain a comfortable speed for yourself and keep your eyes on the road at all times.

Just like navigating in unfamiliar territory, if you miss your turn, don’t panic. Just make the next turn and get back to your destination. Plus, don’t forget to use your high beams when needed, but only when there aren’t any vehicles passing you from the other direction, as this will cause them to have difficulty seeing.

#11. Drowsy Driving

Maybe you didn’t get a very good night’s sleep, or you’re on a long road trip with the family. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence, which is why when you start to feel tired, it’s time to take a break. Many new vehicles will alert you if they sense you’re losing focus on the road. If you find yourself struggling to stay awake, it’s time to find a place to rest so that you don’t put yourself and others in danger.

#12. Driving an Unsafe Vehicle

You may really love your car; however, it’s 20 years old and ready for retirement, or you may have failed to take good care of it, and it’s not delivering the quality ride you need anymore. Unsafe vehicles result in unsafe driving, which then leads to an accident occurring. If your vehicle needs repairs or if it’s time to find a new vehicle altogether, don’t wait. The longer you wait to address this, the more you increase your risk of something unfortunate happening on the road.

Staying Safe Behind the Wheel

It doesn’t take much to stay safe behind the wheel, and knowing some of the key causes of common accidents is important. If you find yourself pushing a little too firmly on the gas pedal on your way to work or struggling to see two feet in front of you during a rainstorm, remember that staying safe on the road is a top priority. Ease off the accelerator; you’ll get to work safer. Pull off into the nearest parking lot until the rain subsides; your destination can wait. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be doing your part to maintain safety on the roadways for you and everyone else traveling along with you.