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Causes of Car Crashes

What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?

The attorneys at Riddle & Brantley understand the causes of car accidentsNegligence is the most common cause of all types of auto accidents, but this negligence takes many forms. Sometimes, drivers overlook or purposefully break the rules of the road. Other times, heightened emotions can lead some driver to make dangerous choices behind the wheel. In addition, some rare accidents may even result from uncontrollable circumstances, like the weather. Regardless of the cause, if a car crash is not your fault, you should be able to file a car accident claim to recover compensation for the damages.

At Riddle & Brantley, our Goldsboro car accident lawyers have decades of experience with car crash cases throughout North Carolina. During that time, we have obtained many successful verdicts and settlements for victims of all types of car crashes. As a result, we have the resources and knowledge necessary to investigate all causes of car accidents, and determine who is to blame. If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one in a crash, we can advise you on your case and help you recover compensation for things like medical expenses, property damages, lost wages and/or funeral costs.

Auto Accidents Caused by Driver Negligence

Across the United States there are over 6 million motor vehicle accidents each year. While improved safety features and stricter driving laws have led to a decrease in total accidents over the past few decades, new issues have also arisen, such as an increase in distracted driving. Still, most of these car crashes are preventable when drivers practice safe, defensive driving techniques.

Some common causes of car accidents include:

  • Aggressive or reckless driving
  • Construction zones
  • Distracted driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driving While Impaired (DWI)
  • Failing to obey traffic signs
  • Speeding
  • Other causes of car crashes

Aggressive or Reckless Driving

Aggressive or reckless driving occurs when an individual operates their vehicle in a manner which puts themselves and others at risk of becoming injured. These individuals disregard traffic laws and the overall safety for all drivers on the roadway. A few common traits an aggressive or reckless driver may demonstrate include:

  • Tailgating
  • Frequent lane changes
  • Failing to yield right of way
  • Failing to use signals
  • Rude or aggressive gestures
  • Disregarding traffic signals

Construction Zone Accidents

According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 67,500 construction zone accidents happen every year, nationwide. These accidents are often caused due to frequent changes to the area as well as unexpected obstacles. Negligent drivers may also speed and/or disobey temporary signs in these zones. In addition, injuries are often not sustained by construction workers in these areas, but instead by the drivers traveling through these zones.

To avoid auto accidents in construction zones, drivers should always proceed with caution. This includes slowing down and taking care to note all signs and directions. Drivers should also be aware of construction vehicles moving and to and from the jobsite. These vehicles typically move more slowly than normal traffic, and may make stops.

Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving continues to be one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. At one point or another everyone has been distracted while driving, however we may fail to recognize the dangers of not staying alert. Some common distractions for drivers include:

  • Texting and driving
  • Talking on the phone while driving
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Changing the radio
  • Updating the GPS
  • Interacting with other passengers
  • Interacting with pets

North Carolina is among the many states that have laws against different forms of distracted driving. In North Carolina, all cell phone use is banned for school bus drivers as well as drivers under the age of 18. Additionally, texting while driving is illegal for all drivers.

Driver Fatigue

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that driver fatigue causes approximately 83,000 auto accidents every year. Additionally, most of these accidents occur between 11 PM and 8 AM. Fatigue makes a driver less alert and decreases reactions speed, meaning that drowsy drivers are less able to act quickly to avoid a crash. Additionally, extreme fatigue may result in a driver falling asleep at the wheel.

A few signs that you may be affected by driver fatigue include:

  • Frequent yawning
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Varying driving speeds
  • Misjudging traffic situations
  • Increased fidgeting or irritability
  • Daydreaming

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is advised to pull your car over at the nearest location to avoid an accident.

Drunk Driving Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1.1 million drivers were arrested in 2014 for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs which is called driving while impaired in North Carolina. The use of drugs and alcohol significantly reduce a driver’s reaction time and focus. This leads to an enormous number of auto accidents, injuries, and deaths every year. These accidents can be avoided by simply designating a sober driver, calling a taxi or using public transportation.

Failing to Obey Traffic Signs

Individuals failing to obey traffic signs are the cause of many accidents, injuries, and deaths across the entire nation. In most cases, these individuals will be ticketed, fined, or penalized if they are caught. However, many drivers go unnoticed on our North Carolina roadways until it is too late. Some common examples of people ignoring traffic signs and lights include:

Failing to obey traffic signals has serious repercussions, especially is someone is injured as a result. Therefore, it is necessary to always pay attention for traffic lights and signs.


The NHTSA reported 9,262 speeding related fatalities across America in 2014. These accidents are so dangerous due to the fact that the faster someone drives the shorter his or her reaction time becomes. Higher speeds also mean the driver has less control over the vehicle, which decreases a driver’s ability to maneuver around potential hazards.

Other Common Causes of Car Accidents

In rare cases, a car crash may result from uncontrollable circumstances. However, your own car insurance should cover the cost of your property damages that result from these auto accidents if you have full coverage. Some common causes of car accidents not due to driver negligence include:

Animal Crossings. Animal crossing areas are dangerous due to the fact that animals cannot not recognize the dangers posed by automobiles. Thus, if drivers are not paying attention for these animals, especially deer, a car accident may result. Animal crossing areas are common throughout North Carolina, though they may be more familiar in more rural areas. Drive with high-beam headlights at night in order to spot animals more easily and avoid these kinds of collisions.

Bad Weather. Bad weather in North Carolina may consist of thunderstorms, hurricanes, windstorms, fog, hail, flash floods/ heavy rain and occasional snowstorms. These conditions can create many dangerous situations for drivers across our roadways by greatly reducing visibility and impairing your ability to properly control your vehicle.

Contact Our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Today

At Riddle & Brantley, our accident attorneys believe that negligent individuals must be held accountable for their actions. Justice counts, which means that car accident victims deserve compensation for all damages and losses they have suffered.

With offices in Goldsboro, Raleigh, Jacksonville, and Kinston, our North Carolina auto accident attorneys are able to serve clients statewide. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free case evaluation, contact us online or call (800) 525-7111. Furthermore, our attorneys all operate on a contingency fee basis. This means we will not charge you for any of our services unless we obtain a favorable verdict or settlement for you.