All car accidents are scary and can potentially affect all areas of your life. Even a minor fender bender can damage your vehicle and shake you up enough to cause injury and anxiety.
Don’t underestimate the potential consequences, regardless of the type of car accident, as they can have far-reaching implications for your life. Consult our Tulsa car accident lawyers for expert legal guidance to find the support and compensation you need to get your life back to normal.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
After learning about common types of car accidents, you may be curious about their underlying reasons.
The NHTSA classifies the causes of car accidents into three main categories: driver error, vehicle malfunction, and environmental conditions.
Accidents stemming from environmental factors encompass weather conditions, road quality, and failures in traffic signals or signs. According to the NHTSA, ice and road debris are attributed as the main culprits in 50 percent of such incidents, with glare ranking second at 17 percent.
Vehicle issues: According to the NHTSA, approximately 2 percent of traffic accidents are attributed to problems associated with vehicles. A significant portion of these incidents, roughly 35 percent, involve tires or wheels, while brakes play a role in 22 percent of cases. Mechanical complications in steering, suspension, and engines can also cause or exacerbate accidents.
While a few of these vehicle-related issues can involve manufacturing defects, most result from inadequate maintenance or the vehicle owner’s neglect to address recall notifications.
Driver error: Driver error is a pervasive and concerning factor in many car accidents worldwide. These incidents often result from mistakes and lapses in judgment.
Understanding the causes and consequences of driver error helps improve road safety and reduces the staggering toll of accidents on our roads. Studies show most car accidents are caused by driver inattention and other oversights, such as:
Distracted driving: Texting or using a phone while driving is a major cause of accidents as it takes a driver’s eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel. Eating, adjusting the radio, or attending to passengers can also lead to accidents due to decreased focus on driving.
Distracted driving impairs reaction times, making it difficult for drivers to respond quickly to unexpected situations on the road, ultimately increasing the risk of collisions.
Impaired driving: Motorists affected by drugs, alcohol, or prescribed medications pose a substantial threat to all road users. Even a minor blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 diminishes the capacity to perform multiple driving tasks, such as simultaneously focusing on road conditions and traffic signals. Operating a vehicle while impaired, commonly known as DUI, can result in arrest, jail time, and other legal repercussions.
Speeding: Speeding significantly raises the risk of accidents by impairing a driver’s ability to react to sudden changes in road conditions or unexpected obstacles. It intensifies the severity of accidents, as higher velocities result in greater impact forces, making collisions more destructive and endangering drivers and pedestrians.
Speeding also diminishes the effectiveness of safety features like seatbelts and airbags, as they become less capable of protecting occupants.
Ignoring or overlooking traffic signals and signs: Neglecting traffic signs disrupts the orderly flow of traffic, causing confusion and unpredictability among drivers. It results in right-of-way conflicts and deadly collisions. Neglecting warning signs for road hazards like sharp curves, pedestrian crossings, or construction zones can make drivers ill-prepared for the conditions ahead, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Drowsy driving: Drowsy driving impairs alertness, reduces attention, and causes microsleep episodes, where drivers essentially fall asleep for brief periods, resulting in poor vehicle control, drifting, and weaving, increasing the risk of collisions. Fatigue also impairs judgment, leading to risky decisions.
Inexperience: Inexperience impedes a driver’s ability to make sound decisions. Novice drivers lack the necessary judgment and risk assessment skills. They often have limited knowledge of road rules, struggle to perceive potential hazards, and don’t have well-developed defensive driving abilities. Inadequate vehicle control and handling, reduced focus, and even overconfidence further elevate the risk of accidents.
Road rage: Road rage triggers aggressive behaviors such as tailgating, speeding, and sudden lane changes, which increase collision risks. Impaired judgment, reduced focus, and risky maneuvers driven by anger can lead to accidents, particularly at intersections. Road rage prompts evasive actions by other drivers trying to avoid confrontations and collisions, adding to the accident potential.
The heightened stress and tension associated with road rage can impair a driver’s ability to respond rationally in challenging situations.
Promoting responsible driving habits, improving infrastructure, and advancing technological solutions can help make our roads safer for everyone.
How to Avoid a Car Accident in Oklahoma
In a world where road safety is paramount, understanding how to avoid a car accident is a skill every driver needs.
Most accidents are avoidable if you keep a few simple tips in mind.
- Don’t drive drunk. If you went out drinking or indulged in cannabis, designate a non-drinking driver, call an Uber, or use public transportation. It could save lives.
- Don’t speed. Slow down when encountering road imperfections like potholes or debris. Even in ongoing road construction, prioritizing reduced speed keeps you safe. Leave ample time to get where you’re going to enhance safety and minimize the potential hazards.
- Avoid electronic distractions. The widespread use of electronic devices highlights the importance of tackling distracted driving. To stay safe, keep your devices away while driving, and if you’re a passenger, offer to handle calls or navigation for the driver. Additionally, be a good role model for young drivers by using devices responsibly.
- Take care of your car. Stick to the maintenance schedule recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Regularly check your brakes, tires, and other crucial safety components. At the first sign of problems, consult a qualified mechanic. Remember, if you neglect maintenance and repairs, you could be held responsible for any accidents that may result from it.
- Respond to recall notifications. Recalls mean the manufacturer has identified a flaw and aims to prevent potential issues, including legal liabilities. Dismissing recall notifications can be tempting when the problem appears minor, but heeding the manufacturer’s guidance is crucial.
Safeguarding yourself and others on the road is a shared responsibility. We can significantly reduce the risk of car accidents by staying vigilant, practicing defensive driving, and adhering to essential safety guidelines.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney When You’re Not at Fault?
If you’ve been involved in any type of car accident, discussing your situation with an experienced legal professional makes sense, especially if you’ve suffered any injuries or damages.
Even if you’re not at fault in a car accident, consulting a lawyer can help in many situations resulting from the accident, such as disputed liability. Even if you believe you’re not at fault, the other party’s insurance company might fight it. An attorney can gather evidence and work to establish your innocence.
While the at-fault party’s insurance should cover your damages, dealing with them can still be confusing and frustrating. An attorney can ensure you receive fair compensation and protect your rights.
If you’ve suffered severe injuries, legal counsel can assist you in navigating the complex process of securing compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and long-term care.
If the accident involved uninsured or underinsured motorists or a hit-and-run accident, your insurance coverage (uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage) may come into play.
An attorney can help you get through this process. If the crash damaged your vehicle or any other personal property, an attorney can recover compensation for repairs or replacements.
Consulting an attorney with expertise in these areas can be highly valuable in complex legal matters such as government entities, defective products, or commercial vehicles. Legal representation is the only way to safeguard your rights and interests in these intricate situations.
While hiring an attorney is not usually mandatory when you’re not at fault, it can provide peace of mind, help you understand your rights, and maximize the compensation you receive.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay them upfront; their fees are contingent on winning your case. This makes it easier to consult an attorney to protect your interests and ensure a smooth resolution of the post-accident process.