The main cause of car accidents is driver error. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that mistakes by drivers are the reason for more than 94 percent of crashes. In addition to this, operator errors, problems with the vehicles, and environmental issues also cause collisions.
NHTSA identifies four groups of errors as the cause of about 9 out of 10 car accidents. In nearly 10% of cases, investigators do not know what causes a crash or what the critical reason for the accident was. Understandably, when a driver flees the scene or does not survive a collision, it can be difficult to determine the cause of the crash.
The four types of driver mistakes that cause the vast majority of the driver-related accidents include:
This occurs when a driver does not recognize something as a potential hazard. Failing to keep one’s eyes on the road or pay attention can lead to this type of mistake. When a driver gets distracted by something inside of the car or out in the environment, a recognition error can happen. This type of driver mistake accounts for about four out of 10 driver-related errors that lead to crashes, according to NHTSA.
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Making a poor decision or a series of unwise choices leads to about 1/3 of the accidents that driver mistakes cause. Taking a curve too fast or traveling at too high a speed for the conditions are two examples of decision error. Illegal maneuvers, like running a red light, fall into this category. Misjudging the distance between vehicles or the speed of other cars can also count as decision errors, as well.
Some people do not drive as well as they think they do. Around 11% of all accidents caused by driver errors happen because the driver’s skills for maintaining control of the vehicle are not what they should be, per NHTSA data. A person might oversteer, for example—if a dog runs toward the street—and loses control of the car. Some drivers have a hard time keeping a vehicle within lane boundaries, which can lead to side-impact collisions.
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Falling asleep at the wheel is the most common non-performance mistake, as reported by NHTSA. Drowsy driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and sudden medical emergencies like a heart attack are additional examples of non-performance errors.
These are some of the ways that driver mistakes can cause an accident. If your accident involved a different kind of operator error, you might still qualify for money damages for your losses.
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Vehicular Problems Cause Accidents
NHTSA reports that although many people tend to blame the car when they have a crash, only about 2% of crashes involve a vehicle defect. Even in these situations, something else—like speeding or driving recklessly—could be the causative factor.
In the crash investigations conducted in the study, responding officials or police on the scene did not perform detailed vehicle inspections. Investigators only noted a vehicle-related critical reason for an accident if the factor was easily visible on the exterior of the car.
The vehicle components investigators looked at included:
- Engine problems
More than half of the crashes involved problems with the tires or brakes. In about 40% of the accidents, NHTSA investigators did not identify the faulty part of the vehicle.
How the Environment Can Lead to Crashes
Weather conditions can affect your (or another person’s driving). NHTSA notes that the following can cause accidents:
- Obstructed view
- Fog, rain, snow, or other weather-related conditions
- Design of the road
- Traffic signals or signs
It is possible that a different type of environmental error led to your collision. Your situation does not have to be on these lists for you to have a valid claim against the person or entity whose careless conduct caused you to get hurt.
If you got hurt because a driver acted negligently, you might have a claim for damages. Drivers have a duty to be reasonably careful whenever they operate motor vehicles on public roadways.
If you got hurt or a loved one died because of a car accident in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston (or surrounding) area, the law firm of Loncar Lyon Jenkins can help you pursue money damages for your losses. You can call us today at 800-777-7777 for a free consultation and for more information about the main cause of car accidents. There is no obligation.
We want to help you in any way we can. We can inform you of any statutes of limitations that could affect your case. Call today to learn more about your options.