Leading Causes of Car Accidents in the Carolinas
Most car accidents are caused by some form of negligence. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways that this negligence can manifest – and a lot of potential causes of car accidents. Sometimes people drive too fast, drive distracted or let their emotions get the best of them and make dangerous decisions on the road.
In 2019, North Carolina alone reported more than 285,000 car accidents and nearly 1,500 related fatalities. According to the NC Department of Transportation, the leading cause of car crashes was improper lane departures (cited in 20.9% of all reported accidents) followed closely by distracted driving (18.8%). Excessive speeding, driving while intoxicated, improper backing up and failing to yield were also among the leading causes of car crashes.
Understanding the top causes of car accidents can help you recognize these threats and protect your family with defensive driving. But if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries or other losses. At The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, our experienced car accident attorneys can provide compassionate and thoughtful legal guidance during this stressful time. For your free consultation, call us today at (800) 351-3008 or schedule an appointment online.
On the road, even a brief distraction can quickly become tragic. Fueled by the widespread adoption of cell phones over the past few decades, distracted driving has become a leading cause of car crashes in the US. In response, both North and South Carolina have made it illegal to text while driving and created a variety of other laws intended to curb distracted driving.
However, cell phones are not the sole threat to a driver’s attention. Other common distractions that you should be careful to avoid include:
- Eating/drinking while driving
- Fiddling with the radio
- Updating or interacting with your GPS
- Interacting with your family, other passengers or pets
Driving Under the Influence
Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol is incredibly reckless and poses a major threat to the impaired driver and everyone around them. In 2019, alcohol was involved in 4% of all reported crashes in North Carolina, but even worse, it was cited in nearly a quarter of all fatal accidents. South Carolina saw a similar trend in 2018, where driving under the influence was the second leading cause of fatal accidents, with more than 200 related deaths.
With modern technology like cell phones and Uber, it’s easier than ever to avoid driving while impaired. There’s just no excuse. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s reckless behavior on the road, including driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, then you may be able to pursue damages from the guilty party – even if they’re facing criminal charges as well.
In North Carolina, speeding was cited as a contributing factor in a quarter of all 2019 traffic fatalities, and it was similarly associated with one-third of 2018 traffic fatalities in South Carolina. It’s no surprise that speeding is consistently cited as a top cause of car accidents, year in and year out. Driving too fast limits your reaction time and ability to react to unexpected events or obstacles. Higher speeds also increased the likelihood of serious or even catastrophic damage in the event of a collision.
It’s also important to note that speeding doesn’t just pertain to posted speed limits. Drivers can also be held liable if they are driving too fast for suboptimal conditions, including heavy traffic, bad weather, poor road conditions and low visibility.
Aggressive or Reckless Driving
Although it’s difficult to assign specific statistics to this category due to the way traffic accidents are reported and classified, most people have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with aggressive drivers. Whether these drivers are targeting a specific person on the roadway or just driving unsafely in general, they pose a significant risk to all drivers. Some common instances of reckless driving include:
- Frequent lane changes, typically without signalling
- Failing to yield the right of way or otherwise ignoring traffic signals
- Rude, angry or obscene gestures or verbal outbursts
If you detect any of these behaviors, the best course of action is to put some distance between your vehicle and their vehicle – don’t escalate the situation.
Drowsy Driving or Driver Fatigue
In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) attributed 91,000 accidents and 795 deaths to drowsy driving. Predictably, most of these accidents happen late at night or early in the morning. Drowsiness and fatigue can reduce a driver’s alertness and reaction time to unexpected events, and in the worst scenario, may cause a driver to fall asleep behind the wheel.
If you are displaying any of these common symptoms of driver fatigue, then you should stop driving and get some rest ASAP:
- Heavy eyelids
- Uncontrollable, frequent yawning
- Inability to maintain a constant speed and driving line
- Increased daydreaming or lack of concentration
- Increased irritability or restlessness
In some instances, crashes may result from the negligence of manufacturers (or other parties in the vehicle’s distribution chain) as opposed to other drivers. Drivers have a reasonable expectation that vehicle manufacturers and retailers will provide a safe product. That includes a safe design, quality materials and clear instructions for the proper installation and use of a product. When defective parts cause an accident, an experienced car accident attorney may be able to hold the negligent parties responsible for your injuries or other losses.
How Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You
Remember: It’s important to give your full, unimpaired attention to your own driving while remaining on the lookout for the problematic driver behaviors described above. But if you or a loved one has been injured due to another person’s negligence, the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor are ready to help you fight for justice.
Because there are so many potential causes of car accidents, you might be confused about whether your accident merits legal action. We can provide the legal guidance you need to navigate this complex question. Request a free consultation online or call us 24/7 at (800) 351-3008 to get started.