Car accidents are very stressful.
Personal injury, property damage, medical bills, and lost wages are just some of the repercussions of a car accident. Some car accidents can even result in death.
While they are called accidents, knowing the main causes of car accidents can help you drive safer and potentially avoid such situations.
In this article, I will cover the 11 most common causes of car accidents today.
11 Common Causes of Car Accidents in Missouri
1. Distracted Driving
As I covered in a recent article about the rise of car accident fatalities in Missouri, distracted driving is the single largest cause of car accidents in Kansas City today.
Distracted drivers are driving without 100% of their attention on the road and the smallest errors made around a distracted driver could result in a car accident.
As a driver, it’s your duty to pay close attention to the road and drivers around you. Avoid multitasking such as eating while driving, using your phone, or searching for something in your car.
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, speeding was a contributing factor in almost 40% of all deaths that resulted from car accidents in 2020.
The faster you drive, the less reaction time you have to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Even 15 or 20 MPH over the speed limit can greatly increase your chances of a car accident.
“There is solid scientific evidence behind the truth of the cliché. The evidence—based on physics—involves Newton’s law, centrifugal force, kinetic energy, vehicle mass and velocity. In simpler terms: for every 10 mph of increased speed, the risk of dying in a crash doubles.” – The Science of Speeding
3. Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol (Drunk Driving)
Drunk drivers are a great danger on the road. While drunk, your senses are dulled, and your reaction times are slowed. If you plan on having some drinks while away from home, designate someone who will not be drinking to drive you home or take an Uber or Lyft. The small amount of money that a ride can cost you is far less than the misery that can be caused by a drunk driver.
No matter how safely you drive, harsh weather can sometimes be so bad that it makes driving conditions very dangerous. Rain, wind, snow, and ice can make it hard to control your car, or can cause another driver around you to lose control of their car and cause an accident.
If you are stuck in weather that makes driving dangerous, drive extra carefully.
5. Road Rage
Road rage or reckless driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Apart from speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating, quickly passing other cars, and even honking to upset or distract other drivers can increase the chances of an accident.
The thing to do is to avoid drivers who are driving recklessly by slowing down and giving them some space. Reacting to them, or challenging them will only make it worse and will increase the chances of a car accident.
6. Not Stopping at a Red Light or Stop Sign
Unfortunately, not all people stop at red lights and stop signs. Running through red lights is another major cause of car accidents. Some drivers may run a red light thinking they can make it through in time, or sometimes are just distracted and do not see the light is red.
Not coming to a full stop at a stop sign is also a leading cause of accidents.
Traffic lights and stop signs are designed to help maintain a steady flow of traffic and to improve road safety and organization.
Do not try and “catch” a light that is about to turn red and drive alert at all times so that you always see and pay attention to stop signs.
7. Teen Drivers
While you probably didn’t expect this on the list, teen drivers are a big cause of accidents in Missouri.
Teenage drivers lack experience in their driving and are more likely to get into an accident than adult drivers. Presented with some driving situation they have never been faced with before, they may make a wrong decision or no decision at all.
As today’s driving habits pose a totally new universe of risk, and teenagers are more vulnerable, I have written a free e-book to help parents teach their teens to adopt safe driving habits:
8. Driving at Night
A lot of drivers get into accidents at night because night driving conditions make it harder to see. In fact, driving at night can double your risks of getting into an accident. If you need to drive at night, be sure to keep your attention on the road, see as far ahead as possible, and never drive while you are tired or have had insufficient sleep.
9. Unsafe Lane Changing
All cars have a blind spot of some sort, bigger cars more than others. Changing lanes without taking the appropriate precautions is another major cause of car accidents in Kansas City.
When passing or changing to another lane, make sure that you have plenty of room. Check your mirrors and check your blind spot and don’t always rely on the safety sensors that modern cars have. Pay close attention to the cars that are driving all around you and make sure that it’s safe to change a lane before you do so.
10. Driving the Wrong Way
It sounds obvious but sometimes it can be easy to find yourself driving the wrong way on a one-way street. When driving in an unfamiliar part of town or in another state, be sure to pay close attention to street signs and one-way signs. Try to plan your route ahead of time and, if possible, avoid needing to get to your destination in a hurry.
11. Improper Turns
Forgetting to use turn signals, or turning from a non-turning lane are the top causes of accidents when it comes to improper turns.
A turn signal tells other drivers around you that you are about to turn. This allows them to react appropriately and give you a chance to turn. Not letting other drivers know about your planned turn can result in an accident.
At major intersections and busy streets, there are often lanes that are designated for turns so that the flow of traffic is not stopped. Not noticing these, or turning from a lane that is meant to keep traffic moving can result in an accident, even if you do use a turn signal.
About Doug Horn
Douglas R. Horn is the Lead Attorney of The Horn Law Firm, P.C. where he exclusively represents persons who are injured in accidents, including cases arising from motor vehicle collisions, work & industrial accidents, and dangerous conditions.
Since 1991, Horn has compiled a track record of success in obtaining maximum recovery for his clients, concentrating in cases involving neck, back, and spinal injuries, head/brain trauma, fractures, injuries requiring extended medical care, and catastrophic injury.
As Horn’s law practice has increasingly focused on motor vehicle accident law and crash litigation, he also dedicates a significant amount of his work to the advancement of driver safety, particularly in the area of teen driver protection.
In addition to his law practice, Horn frequently presents on personal injury law to national attorney audiences, including strategies to maximize legal recovery for traumatic brain injury, neck, back, and spinal injury, orthopedic injury, and complex/catastrophic injury.