Top Causes Of Car Accidents In the US

Top Causes Of Car Accidents In the US

Road accidents are a real nightmare. Each driver sets off on the road being sure that he will reach his destination quickly, safely, and soundly. But the truth is that we can never be sure of this. Anything can happen on the road. Even if we are maximally cautious behind the wheel, another driver might not be, which can lead to an eventual accident with milder or more severe consequences.

Regardless of the degree of severity, accidents are always a hassle for those involved. Starting with small defects in the vehicle and ending with drastic consequences for the health of drivers and passengers, accidents, unfortunately, end up endangering the safety and health of more than 5 million people in the US annually. That's a dramatic number that statistics record annually.

NeoTires experts researched this topic to identify the most frequent causes of car accidents. You know, an informed driver is an armed driver and we truly hope that the following article will somehow reduce the number of vehicle collisions and similar road issues. By knowing the causes of accidents, we might prevent them by avoiding situations that would put our lives and safety at risk.

Quick Facts about US Car Accidents

Let's see what the numbers say because they never lie. According to official statistics, driving time has a certain influence on the risk of collisions. As you might have guessed, the period with the highest probability of accidents is between 18.00 and 24.00, with an accident rate of 35%.

More than that, weekends are also notable for an increased degree of accidents. Reports indicate that the most serious collisions with fatal consequences occur mainly on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Last but not least, traffic becomes more dangerous during holidays such as Christmas. However, as strange as it may sound, Christmas is not the most dangerous holiday from the perspective of accidents. Rather, it is Independence Day, which records the highest number of fatal accidents of the year.

Who Suffers the Most in Road Accidents?

Before answering this question, let's first see who are the potential "participants" in an accident. As a rule, those who can be potentially affected in a collision are, obviously, the drivers of the vehicles, then their passengers, pedestrians crossing the street, and motorcyclists. We can also add animals here, especially if we are talking about rural areas.

The statistics for 2020 indicate that there were around 35,700 fatal accidents in the US. These accidents took away 38,800 lives. The highest number of fatalities was recorded among vehicle drivers, reaching the number of approximately 19,500. After drivers, pedestrians are the most affected in fatal road accidents. Approximately 6,500 pedestrians suffered injuries incompatible with life in 2020.

With only a small difference, passengers are in the 3rd place of the most affected participants in accidents. The number of deaths in 2020 rose to 5,900, followed by 5,700 motorcyclists who also did not survive. About 1,200 people lost their lives in road collisions for various reasons such as the unexpected appearance of animals, health issues, etc...

The sad part of things is that these numbers do not decrease with each consecutive year. These have a growing tendency and at the moment, a fatal road accident in the US occurs once every 13 minutes.

Where Do Most Accidents Occur in the US?

The probability of an accident depends, to some extent, on the road and weather conditions. So, we will not go into technical details about the causes of accidents now, except for one cause, which is one of the most frequent: speed. Many drivers advance in hitting that acceleration pedal, being sure that they have maximum control.

But the statistics show something completely different. If we talk about the frequency of fatal accidents due to speed, here is what previous years' statistics show us. Please note that we will mention only the states but only those with the highest fatal accident index. If a certain state is missing, it means that the road accident index due to speed is below average:

Percent of Fatalities from Speeding

It is worth mentioning that passenger vehicles are the most frequently involved in severe accidents that result in serious injuries as well as fatalities. Light trucks suffer accidents almost as frequently as passenger vehicles with only a difference of about 500 units less annually. Buses are the least involved in collisions, registering only up to 200 accidents annually.

Top Causes Of Car Accidents in the US

Now that we know more about the not-so-gratifying statistics, let's move on to the causes of accidents in the US. I'm sure you can list some of them and you'll probably start with speed. Indeed, speed is one of the most common causes. As you saw in the previous statistics, this can be the cause of almost 50% of fatal accidents in certain states. What about the rest ones? NeoTires experts have identified 15. If we missed one, feel free to comment below. Let's see what it's about.


I don't think it's worth dwelling too much on this topic. Surely you have seen plenty of speeders, especially on highways passing by like lightning. Adrenaline might be superhigh, which brings a lot of driving pleasure. But, very often, speeding results in fatal accidents that affect not only the driver, but also passengers, and pedestrians in many cases.

All I can recommend here is not to overestimate your car-control abilities. You might erroneously think that you can handle the vehicle well and maintain absolute control over it. However, speed can be deceptive and you might lose control in just a fraction of a second. In addition, agile braking will not help you much even if you have a fast braking response. The higher the speed, the smaller the chances of avoiding the impact. In most cases, there are zero chances to avoid it.

Distracted Driving

According to statistics, distracted driving is one of the most frequent reasons for road accidents. You might be shocked to know that in fact, this is much more common than the alcohol reason that we will talk about later.

Being distracted behind the wheel means that the driver loses attention on the steering wheel for various reasons. The phone, the radio, children, snacks, messages, and even sneezing make drivers lose the notion of distance and control in traffic.

If you thought that the small moment in which you read a message on the phone is not a big deal, I hope you change your mind, because this leads to an impressive number of collections. The erroneous belief that a moment of distraction does not dramatically affect your driving is precisely what leads to a collision. So, please, don't disregard this reason because it is the one with the highest index.

Drunk Driving

It is a well-known fact that the drunk condition severely distorts reality while driving. Other vehicles seem far too far, lanes seem wider than they really are, and the speed seems not that high. Driving a vehicle while alcohol intoxicated is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous.

One of the major problems in the US related to drinking and driving is that teen drivers are the most affected. Why? Just because an adult can generally control the amount of alcohol intake as well as the mental lucidity while under the alcohol influence. A teen driver, on the other hand, is more likely to exceed the alcohol limit. In addition, they often overestimate their driving abilities in such conditions.

If we talk in numbers, the DUI statistics show us that about 10% of high school youngsters have no problem driving after having a couple of shots. Moreover, another 17% confirmed that they had previously agreed to get into a car with a drunk teenager driving the vehicle.

The consequences? Almost 30% of teenagers involved in fatal accidents were in a state of moderate or advanced drunk condition. One more shot?! No, I guess I shall avoid them all, and I strongly recommend you do the same.

Overhasty Driving

It's no surprise that reckless driving is a frequent reason that leads to more or less severe collisions. Lack of patience in traffic and overestimation of driving abilities lead to accidents of various magnitudes. Unreasonable speeding, changing lanes without making sure that it does not affect the driving trajectory of other traffic participants, and sudden braking without leaving room for stopping distance - are just a few symptoms of overhasty driving behavior.

I don't think that the 5-10 minutes you gain while speeding is really worth the risk. Even if the potential collision is of a small magnitude, the hassle that you'll have afterward will drive you crazy. Not to mention the health and life risks you are taking. Is it really worth it?

Wet Roads

Accident statistics suggest that many are not aware of the risks associated with wet surfaces. In rainy or wet conditions, the braking distance of the tires becomes longer. This happens because the layer of water forms a barrier between the tire tread and the road. As such, the tire loses its grip, which leads to the hydroplaning effect. As a result, drivers do not know how to handle this effect, which leads to impacts with other vehicles, collisions, and severe accidents.

In this sense, I want to remind you how important it is to reduce your speed in heavy rain conditions. Keep in mind that the wheels will brake harder, especially if your tires are meant for dry conditions. First of all, I recommend opting for tires that ensure reliable grip and traction in wet weather, as well as provide increased control against hydroplaning. Secondly, judicious driving is even more essential, especially in these conditions. Reducing speed, keeping the optimal distance from other vehicles, as well as high focus behind the wheel is crucial.

Ignoring Red Lights

"I'll manage it! I can handle this"- that's the way all red light ignorants think while slamming the pedal and BANG! I'm always wondering if this risk is worth it at the price of safety and even life! Curiously, men are more prone to drive through red lights than females. We are talking here about a relatively small difference of 32.2% vs 30%. Either way, the road traffic laws mention that it is mandatory to look both ways when you are in an intersection and to stop at the Red Signal of the traffic light.

Ignoring Stop Signs

Another effect of drivers' ignorance is accidents due to the neglect of Stop Signs. In many cases, drivers disregard the relevance of these signs and continue to drive without making sure they give up the right of way. Other vehicles and even pedestrians can appear out of nowhere. Being at speed, the drivers fail to brake and this is where the alarming statistics of pedestrians, motorcyclists, and drivers start.

Once again, I point out that traffic signs are not placed randomly and without reason. If the NHTSA authorities decide to place a Stop Sign in a certain place, it means that the said place involves some real dangers. Stop and make sure you can finish the maneuver safely.

Teenage Drivers

I previously talked about the index of teenagers who take the risk of drinking before driving. In the same sense, plenty of teenagers get behind the wheel without knowing the vehicle's mechanics and the driving rules. In addition, they are driven by the adrenaline of the experience, which makes them take on more than they can carry.

As a result, they are likely to make unwise maneuvers, drive at too high a speed, and turn without considering the cornering forces. Unfortunately, many of these experiences end with accidents in which not only the driver suffers. If you have a teenager at home, remind them how important it is to choose safety over adrenaline, which is a much wiser choice.

Driving At Night

You already know that night driving is the most dangerous period. The risk of fatal accidents is at least 2 times higher than with daily driving. Several factors contribute to increasing these risks. Some of them include but are not limited to low visibility being blinded by oncoming headlights, incorrect estimation of the distance to other drivers, and fatigue.

Experts encourage drivers to stop their vehicles in a safe place and rest whenever they feel that driving becomes difficult. In addition, be aware of the risks and try to be as alert as possible.

Unsafe Lane Changes

Unsurprisingly, this maneuver generates collisions and loss of control on the roads. The relatively high speed, especially on highways, as well as the incorrect estimation of the distance to other vehicles, increase the risk of impacts. In addition, many drivers ignore the signaling when changing lanes. This misleads the other traffic participants. A no less important aspect is the blind spots while changing lanes.

I personally was involved in an accident because I didn't take blind spots into account and ran into a motorcyclist on my right. All I want to say is that even if the accident was not very serious, I cannot describe the fright I felt at that moment. I do not wish such experiences on anyone, so be cautious when changing lanes.

Icy and Snowy Roads

You can never be sure about the vehicle's stability on icy and snowy roads. Especially if you are equipped with all-season tires. They perform decently on dry and wet roads. But not in snowy and especially icy conditions. Improper tires cause the vehicle to slide. Many drivers lose control because they do not know how to restore their stability. Add to this the longer braking distance and collisions are almost inevitable.

In this sense, it is crucial to equip yourself with winter-oriented tires, especially if you live in areas with extreme climates. Winter tires might be more pricey than other types. But I recommend not to skimp on safety because snow and ice are among the most frequent causes of accidents in the United States, especially in the northern area.

Tire Blowouts

You will be shocked to know how many accidents occur annually due to the poor condition of the tires. Official sources indicate about 78,000 annual collisions due to tire failure. 10,000 of them result in severe injuries while about 500 have fatal consequences. A tire blowout can occur for various reasons: tire overpressure, low pressure, old tire, uneven wear, and potholes, among others. During a blowout, drivers lose control, sometimes even panic, which leads to severe loss of vehicle stability.

In order to reduce this risk, our specialists and all those dealing with the automotive industry recommend keeping the condition of the tires under control. Replace tires when first severe damage appears, rotate them to reduce uneven wear, and inflate them properly avoiding under and over-inflation.

Deadly Curves

You probably know that the vehicle is subject to cornering forces while approaching a curve. To control these forces and maintain vehicle stability, the driver should normally reduce speed. Still, not all drivers estimate the seriousness of the risks and do not adjust their driving style in severe curves. While accidents in curves occur less often, they are of the highest degree of severity.

As a rule, there are traffic signs that alert the driver about approaching a deadly curve. Your job is to reduce speed and be cautious around other vehicles. Other drivers might be less cautious, which could indirectly involve you in an accident. So, you better keep a reasonable distance for safety reasons.

Street Racing

The thirst for adrenaline or dopamine or whatever you call it, unfortunately, results in many fatal accidents every year in the US. This is what the street racing statistics show, which gathers hundreds to thousands of drivers badly seeking sharp sensations. Oh, and those supercars with turbo engines roaring to the core of power, performance, and speed. Sounds kind of fast and furious, I know. But, sadly, these experiences bring about serious accidents from which few survive.

Ignoring Seatbelts

Many myths circulate about the unimportance of seatbelts. The worst thing is that a good part of the passengers and drivers believe in them. However, the figures of the official statistics prove that they really save lives. If an accident is unavoidable, the seatbelt is the chance to get out of it alive and unharmed. According to official data, about 50% of unbelted drivers end up dying in serious accidents. This number would be much lower by just buckling up.

Car Accidents: FAQs

What Are The Most Common Causes Of A Vehicle Collision?

Unfortunately, the accident statistics do not decrease every year. According to statistical data, the most frequent causes include the following:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Overhasty driving
  • Night driving while exhausted
  • Adverse weather conditions

What Is The Single Greatest Factor In Car Accidents?

Most vehicle accidents are based on driver error. He commits a huge mistake whenever he gets distracted from the road, when he decides to make reckless maneuvers without making sure that he does not contravene the traffic rules, or when he doesn't assume the risks of those 2-3 drinks, when he presses the accelerator pedal overestimating his driving capabilities, or when he does not equip himself with the right tires for harsh conditions, or when he decides to give up the seatbelt. We strongly recommend that you do not ignore to be cautious always, in any conditions, and any maneuvers, because this could cost you your life.

How Can We Avoid Car Accidents?

Accident prevention is actually very simple. all you have to do is always keep in mind the traffic regulations and be a responsible driver. This means to:
- drive at a reasonable speed
- pay attention to the maneuvers of other drivers
- to signal whenever you plan a maneuver
- keep a safe distance from other vehicles
- check from both sides when you enter an intersection
- to stop when the traffic light indicates Red
- give way to pedestrians even if you have priority
- to refuse that drink that only impairs your driving awareness

Why Trust Us?

NeoTires is a team of enthusiasts and specialists who love the topic of driving. Just as tires are the key element in driving safety, they have become our object of study for more than 5 years. We know everything about them: how they manifest themselves in various conditions, which are better for certain environments, what makes them perform and what affects their performance, and how to maintain them for long-term serviceability. With these in mind, we want to share our knowledge with all drivers so that they can improve their driving experience and safety in all conditions.

Our team is made up of specialists with a wide spectrum of expertise in the field. Mechanics, testers, professional content writers, and qualified customer assistants - are all here to provide the necessary support and guidance to any driver in terms of tires.

In addition, we offer a wide variety of products from the most reputable brands in the industry. Here you can find premium and high-quality tires for any vehicle, any road, any weather conditions, and unique drivers' needs. Moreover, we offer reasonable prices for premium products so that every driver can benefit from superior quality without breaking the bank account.

Feel free to count on us for any tire-related matter. Whenever you need great tires at great prices, or just simply some safety and maintenance tips- our trained teammates will help you in the most professional yet friendly way. Drive safe and choose your tires wisely!

Brian Darr is a passion-driven enthusiast who has become an expert in the tire industry. His passion for rubber started with his first driving experience. He firmly believes that the performance and safety of any vehicle are due, first of all, to the quality of the tires mounted on it.
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