Causes of Car Accidents

Damage from car accident in memphis

Car accidents are just that, for the most part – accidents. If a driver follows the rules of the road, accidents don’t just happen. There is usually a mistake that is made, whether conscious or unconscious, that causes an accident – from a minor “fender-bender” to a crash that involves multiple deaths and injuries.

While you may be an injured party in an auto accident, and there is a need to hire a quality auto accident personal injury attorney to defend your rights, it is important to know that no two accidents are the same, and very few accidents are simple to deconstruct. Many accidents don’t have just one cause that can be attributed to one driver, or one car, or one third-party entity. Often there are multiple causes of auto accidents, and letting an investigation reveal all the facts of the incident can help you build a strong case when you look for compensation for your injuries an suffering.

Let us take a quick look at some of these most common causes of car accidents. Might one or more of these be a cause of your accident?

Driving Under the Influence

This used to be just “drunk driving,” but with the prevalence of drugs that can affect a driver’s reaction time and mental sharpness, a more general term of driving under the influence has been included. Whether a driver was smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, or taking a strong prescription painkiller, any of these can affect a persons’ ability to drive safely, and this is one of the leading causes of auto accidents.


Excessive speed can be a prominent cause of accidents. After all, the faster you go, the harder it is to control your vehicle, the longer it takes to stop, and the slower your reaction time is (in terms of distance traveled). When you think about cars which pass you on the highway or those that seem to accelerate at a yellow light to get through an intersection, you can almost sense either an accident or a speeding citation in that driver’s near future.

Defective Vehicles

We like to think that all vehicles are made the exact same way when they come off the assembly line, and will operate as designed. But sometimes a “bad apple” comes out, and only in a difficult situation will defects be noticed. Perhaps the power steering goes out, or there is a sensor malfunction in the computer system, or the brakes don’t work. When a car doesn’t’ do what you expect it to do, those defects can cause an accident because the car is performing in a way that a normal driver would not have reasonably anticipated.

Highway Construction

You can go just about anywhere in the country and find some construction going on on a state highway or an interstate. Construction sites have added dangers such as heavy equipment, construction workers, and sometimes patrol officers directing traffic. Construction can narrow traffic lanes which can make passing difficult, and many places lower speed limits in construction zones and double fines for speeding in those zones in order to mitigate accidents. A construction site with inadequate warnings about road conditions can cause problems which lead to accidents.

Teen Driving

Teenagers always look forward to getting their driver’s license. It’s a rite of passage for them to be more like adults. However, young drivers don’t’ get into crashes like adults – they get into crashes at rates like … well, new drivers. Teen drivers aged 16-17 are nine times more likely to be involved in a crash as drivers 18 and older, and six times more likely to be involved in a crash resulting in a death. Teen driving is inexperienced, careless and dangerous not only to the young drivers but to all drivers and passengers on the roads.

Reckless or Aggressive Driving

Many people are taught defensive driving, and for good reason. There is a share of drivers out there who likes to be aggressive – regularly exceeding the speed limit, not using turn signals while changing lanes, entering lanes too close to the front of a vehicle, passing in curves, among other reckless acts. In Tennessee, the most common cause of fatal auto accidents is “failing to maintain a lane,” which is consistent with a reckless or aggressive driving behavior.

Bad Weather

There is a cause of auto accidents that are well out of the control of drivers and Rain covered windshield causes car accident in memphispassengers, and that is inclement weather. Whether the sun is at an awkward angle to shine in a driver’s eyes, or if there is excessive rainfall, a dust storm or fog, there are a number of weather conditions that could directly cause auto accidents – anything that affects driver visibility or traction of tires on the road can be a variable in any auto accident. It is unusual for the weather to be the only cause of an accident; it is most commonly a complementary cause to others on this list.

Improper Turns

In many places, turns are not treated the same in one intersection as on another. Having an understanding of when it’s proper to turn on a red light or when the green arrow appears can be difficult to keep track of based on the side of town in which you’re driving. And having an improper turn is a dangerous and risky move in oncoming traffic. Being aware of the “rules of the road” at each intersection is vital to ensuring that a turn of your car doesn’t lead to an unfortunate turn of events.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, it is important to seek counsel with a Memphis personal injury attorney who can conduct a thorough investigation of your auto accident and help determine the cause (or causes) and protect and defend your rights when liability can be established. Don’t rely on insurance companies; protect your own interests by getting a free legal consultation today to know your rights if and when an accident claim is filed. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.