Common Causes of Car Accidents
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 3,896 people were killed in car wrecks for the most recent year for which data is available. This number of fatalities represented a 7.54 percent increase in the number of traffic-related fatalities for the year before. There was also 12,107 serious injury crashes in the same year, resulting in 14,656 people sustaining a serious injury.
So, out of all these crashes, you might be wondering, “What is the most common cause of collisions?” Below, we dive into car crash statistics for Texas and alert you to the dangers to watch out for while on our Lone Star State roads. If you are injured in a collision, The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™ are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Houston
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were nearly 475,000 car wrecks in Texas for the most recent year reported. Nearly 100,000 of these accidents occurred in Houston and throughout Harris County. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
Drunk Driving and Impaired Driving
- Drunk driving continues to be a problem throughout the Lone Star State. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 14,253 Texas crashes involved an intoxicated driver. Impaired driving not only involves alcohol. It can also include illicit or prescription drugs. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that 3,841 car crashes involved drivers under the influence of drugs. Another 259 involved prescription drug use for the most recent year for which traffic data is available.
- Impaired and drunk driving can seriously impair a driver’s ability to maintain control of their vehicle. They may experience lowered inhibitions, greater risk-taking urges, and a loss of gross and fine motor function. Some drunk drivers may engage in wrong-way driving in which they travel into the path of oncoming traffic traveling in the opposite direction. Sadly, many of these car crashes are fatal or lead to life-changing serious injuries.
- Distracted driving is driving while engaging in any type of behavior that takes your attention away from driving. 10,085 crashes in a recent year involved distracted drivers in Harris County.
- One of the most prolific and dangerous forms of distracted driving is texting and driving. This behavior is so dangerous because it takes a driver’s eyes off the roadway, their hands off the steering wheel, and their mind off the task of driving.
- Other forms of distracted driving include:
- Adjusting the audio or temperature dials
- Looking up directions or entering information into a GPS
- Eating or drinking
- Distracted drivers pose a serious threat to public safety.
- Reckless driving is engaging in any form of extremely dangerous behavior that puts others’ safety at risk. Some common examples of reckless driving include:
- Running red lights or other traffic lights
- Running stop signs
- Not staying in the proper lane
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Street racing
- Swerving in and out of lanes
- Speeding well above the posted speed limit
- When reckless driving is due to road rage, aggressive driving actions may occur. Examples of aggressive driving include:
- Making repeated unsafe lane changes
- Slamming on brakes in an attempt to cause a collision
- Gesturing or yelling at other motorists
- Cutting off other drivers
- Blocking other motorists from passing
- Running red lights
- Running stop signs
- The Texas Department of Transportation reports that 1,770 crashes in a recent year were due to road rage. It also reports the following annual number of car crashes due to the following factors:
- Improper turn – cut corner on left – 1,681
- Improper turn – wide right – 3,443
- Improper turn – wrong lane – 5,376
- Turned when unsafe – 9,375
- Speeding is dangerous because it can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle and can also result in more severe injuries due to the higher speeds involved. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in a recent year, 1,832 Harris County collisions and 2,547 statewide collisions were due to speeding.
- Research shows that drowsy driving mimics some of the same side effects of drunk driving. For example, the driver’s ability to maintain the same lane and speed can be impeded. 7,540 accidents occurred in a recent year due to drowsy driving.
Failure to Yield
- Some accidents occur when drivers fail to yield to other drivers who have the proper right of way. This was the cause of over 18,000 auto accidents in a single recent year. Other accidents occur when drivers make unsafe lane changes, such as by not using their blinker or making sure the lane is clear before moving into it.
Following Too Closely
- Many drivers follow others too closely. When the vehicle in front brakes, the driver in the back may not have enough time to come to a complete stop, which can cause a rear-end collision. Texas law requires drivers to maintain a safe distance from each other and prohibits tailgating.
- One of the most common causes of car accidents in Texas is inexperience. In fact, car accidents are the #1 cause of death of teens. Texas also has more summertime crash deaths involving teen drivers than any other state in the country. Young drivers simply do not have the same skillset and experience to know how to handle a hazardous situation like more experienced drivers. They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors, like reckless driving, speeding, or distracted driving, which can cause them to lose control of the vehicle.
- All of the common causes of car accidents discussed so far have to do with driver error. However, some car accidents occur because of a problem with the vehicle. For example, a defective tire can cause a tire blowout that results in a serious accident. Brakes that do not work properly can lead to a deadly auto accident. In these situations, the vehicle or parts manufacturer may be responsible for the harm innocent victims suffer.
Dangerous Road Conditions and Road Hazards
- Other car accidents happen due to dangerous road conditions. For example, some car accidents occur because of animal crossings that take place where there is no animal crossing sign to alert drivers of the hazard. Other car accidents happen because of sharp turns, visual obstructions, poor lighting, or lack of maintenance of the roads.
- Another potential cause of car accidents is the presence of road hazards. Potholes, uneven pavement, and road debris can cause tire blowouts and serious auto accidents.
How Our Houston Lawyers Help Collision Victims, No Matter the Cause
If a negligent driver injured you, you can trust our experienced Houston car accident lawyers to:
- Investigate the cause of the motor vehicle accident
- Identify all other parties involved and legal liability for the accident
- Calculate the full extent of your damages
- Handle communications with the insurance company
- Negotiate a fair settlement for your traffic accident
How to Protect Your Rights After a Car Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should be extremely cautious about what you say in the immediate aftermath. Never admit fault when speaking to the other driver, even if you are confused, disoriented, or nervous. Far too many people feel the need to apologize after a collision, whether out of politeness, sympathy for the other person’s injuries or damage to their property, or other reasons. However, even saying “sorry” could be construed as an admission of some fault. It is best to only share the required information, like your name, contact number, insurance info, etc., and leave the rest for insurance companies and personal injury lawyers to figure out.
You should also limit the details you share with friends and family and be especially careful about what you post on social media websites. Insurance companies will frequently search these accounts for statements about auto accidents. Any statements you make could potentially be used against you later.
You will likely be contacted soon after an accident by an insurance company for the other driver. You should avoid speaking to the other party’s insurance representatives until you have legal representation. You should be especially careful not to provide any recorded statement to the insurance company. While some agents may seem friendly and concerned, they will usually ask you questions that are designed to get you to make statements that will hurt your own injury claim.
In other cases, insurance companies may propose a quick settlement to resolve your case. You should know that any settlement you are offered from an insurance company is likely far short of what you are actually entitled to recover. A skilled auto accident attorney will be able to accurately gauge the true value of your claim and then fight for every last dollar you need and deserve.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
Texas law indicates that a person must bring suit for personal injury not later than two years after the date of a car accident. When a car crash causes fatal injuries, families also have two years to bring a wrongful death suit, but the limitations period begins on the date of a person’s death, which may be well after the date of the accident.
The statute of limitations may be tolled (or delayed) when a victim has a disability that prevents them from filing a legal action. One disability could be a diminished mental capacity, such as a coma. A person in a coma or has some other mental incapacitation could have their limitations period delayed until they are cognizant and capable of filing suit again.
In addition, an individual injured in an accident as a minor has two years to file a lawsuit after they turn 18.
Contact Our Texas Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Did you suffer serious injuries, or was your loved one killed in a fatal car accident in Texas? If another party’s negligence caused your accident, you could be entitled to compensation for all of your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian™ have a long record of success in recovering maximum compensation for car crash victims. Our Houston car accident lawyers can examine your case when you call or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.