Top Causes of Car Accidents—and How to Avoid Them

At their worst, car accidents can be deadly. At their best, they’re still a stressful (and often expensive) experience that no one wants to deal with. 

To keep yourself safe from stress, injury, or worse, be aware of the top causes of car accidents and learn how you can lower your chances of being involved in one. 


According to the NHTSA, driver error, or distracted driving, is a leading cause of car accidents across the United States. What is distracted driving? The term can refer to anything from reading passing billboards to playing music at too loudly, but the most common type of distraction is the use of cellphones or other devices.

How to avoid it: To limit distractions, your phone should only be used in emergency situations after safely pulling over (when possible). Even if you’re not on the phone, don’t ever try to multi-task while you’re driving. Whether it’s finishing up your breakfast on the way to work or selecting a song to play while you drive, don’t do anything that will take your focus away from the road. 


Reduced concentration and a slower reaction time: These are just a couple of the dangerous consequences alcohol can have. Unfortunately, despite being completely avoidable, fatal accidents from drunk driving still happen at an alarming rate, with one death occurirng every 50 seconds.

How to avoid it: The most effective way you can avoid drunk driving accidents is to never get behind the wheel in the first place when you’re impaired (and not let others get behind the wheel if they’re impaired). Plan to have a designated driver or use a ride sharing service. 


Did you know speeding was responsible for 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2019? Despite the dangers, many drivers still choose to go 5, 10, and even 20 mph over the speed limit, significantly lowering their ability to react to any unexpected driving hazards.  

How to avoid it: Naturally, you can best avoid speeding accidents by not speeding in the first place, but be aware that in Arizona, you’ll need to follow the “basic speeding law,” which says you must drive at a safe speed given the road conditions. Sometimes, this will mean driving below the posted speed limit. 


Falling under the driver error umbrella, reckless driving occurs when a driver chooses to drive in a dangerous manner. Whether they’re tailgating or cutting someone off, people drive recklessly when they have the intention of causing harm (even if they don’t actually cause any). 

How to avoid it: At some point, almost everyone experiences frustration while they’re driving, but you can’t let those emotions cloud your judgment. One of the best things you can do to calm any road rage is give yourself sufficient time to get to your destination. To steer clear of other reckless drivers, keep your defensive driving skills activated at all times.


It’s obvious that crossing an intersection when you’re supposed to wait is incredibly dangerous, yet drivers running red lights is still a top cause of car accidents. In 2017, 939 people were killed by drivers running red lights.

How to avoid it: If you’re in a rush, you might be tempted to speed through the end of a yellow light, but this could have deadly consequences. When you see the light turn yellow, prepare to come to a full stop. Once the light turns green again, don’t immediately accelerate into the intersection. Wait a few seconds, look both ways, and then proceed. 

Even if you didn’t need to stop for a red light, it’s always a good idea to look in both directions whenever you’re about to enter an intersection. 

There’s no way to eliminate all the dangers of driving, but you can minimize your chances of getting in a car accident by keeping your driving skills sharp. Contact us to find out more about how our driving courses keep you safe on the road.