Common Causes of Car Accidents in Washington & the US

Auto Accident Lawyers Serving Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, & More WA Locations

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), auto accidents are the number one cause of death in the 3 to 33 age group in the United States. On average, approximately 1.2 million people worldwide die in car accidents annually. Some of the most common causes of auto accidents in the United States include:

  1. Drunk Driving:

    Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs are among the leading caused for car accidents in Washington State and elsewhere in the nation. NHTSA numbers show that 37,261 people died in auto accidents in 2008 in the United States. Out of that about 11,773 died in DUI collisions. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for 32 percent of all auto accident deaths in 2008. On an average, someone is killed in a DUI crash every 45 minutes in the United States. The only solution to prevent these tragedies is to avoid getting behind the wheel when you are impaired – whether it involves alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription medication.

  2. Distracted Drivers:

    With the advent of communications technology, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of automotive crashes. The problem is on a par with drunk driving. Primary sources of distraction include all forms of cell phone communication, texting, looking at scenery, adjusting audio equipment, applying makeup, shaving, and eating behind the wheel. When a driver’s hands are not on the wheel, his eyes are not on the road, and his attention is not on driving. Distracted drivers cause about 25 percent of all auto accidents in the U.S.

  3. Driver Fatigue:

    Numerous accidents are caused by sleepy motorists. It is extremely important to get a good night’s sleep or to take frequent breaks especially during long drives so you’re not falling asleep at the wheel.

  4. Speeding:

    Most states including Washington have basic speed laws. Speeding is a serious threat because it not only reduces the amount of time necessary to avoid a crash, but also increases the risk of a crash and results in far serious injuries. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that when the speed increases from 40 mph to 60 mph in a crash, the energy released more than doubles.

  5. Reckless or Aggressive Driving:

    Typically, these are drivers who operate a motor vehicle without regard for the rights or safety of other users of streets and highways. This includes activity such as street-racing, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, disregarding traffic signals or stop signs, weaving through traffic and failure to yield right-of-way.

  6. Weather:

    In many cases, weather can play a significant part. Rain, snow, sleet, the glare of the sun, wet roadways or icy highways — can all contribute to a crash. In inclement weather, it is ideal to avoid traveling. But if you must travel, be sure to slow down and take all possible precautions to avoid a crash.

  7. Dangerous Roadways:

    Hazardous roadways are those streets or highways that present legitimate dangers to motorists, commuters or pedestrians. Examples of unsafe roadway components include, but are not limited to, potholes, uneven pavement, lack of proper signage, and lack of striping.

  8. Defective Vehicles:

    There is little that a driver can do when his or her vehicle goes out of control. Dangerous or defective vehicles can play a significant role or even cause a serious car accident.

If you have been seriously injured in a Washington car accident, please contact The Bernard Law Group to obtain more information about your legal rights and options.


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