No one sets out to drive somewhere thinking they’ll end up in a collision. Unfortunately, this happens hundreds of times a day. There are infinite ways a collision can occur, but there are more common causes drivers can try to watch for and avoid. Read on for what you need to know.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Vehicle Collisions?
Collisions have many causes, but these are among the most common. Drivers should take care not to engage in these behaviors and try to be on the watch for other drivers who are showing signs of them (swerving, not responding to changes in traffic lights, speeding, weaving from lane to lane, etc.).
- Driving while under the influence (DUI). This is a leading cause of car accidents that result in fatalities across the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 30% of traffic fatalities result from someone driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Those other substances aren’t necessarily always illegal; they can be prescription or over-the-counter medications impairing driving ability.
- Distracted driving. A primary culprit here is cell phones, whether used to make a call, text, or look up information. Texas enacted a law in 2017 that makes it illegal for a driver to use such devices in their hands while driving. Instead, they should only use hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth. But distractions don’t come only from cell phones. Someone who’s eating, putting on makeup, reading a map or other document, adjusting dials on the dashboard, or turning to look at passengers could be considered distracted and cause an accident.
- Speeding. Speeding is and has long been a significant source of collisions. It can have terrible impacts on all vehicles involved for two reasons: The amount of time it takes a vehicle to slow when it’s traveling quickly is increased, and the force behind it when it crashes is much higher than at slower speeds, meaning it will cause significantly more damage.
- Lane changes and merging. Collisions frequently happen when someone changes lanes or mergers aggressively, often driving too fast and not signaling their movements. Other drivers may not realize what those drivers are doing and can’t move out of the way in time to avoid an accident.
- Ignoring stoplights and street signs. Speeding through yellow or red lights, stop signs, or failing to yield or merge when required often leads to collisions.
- Turns. Whenever a vehicle turns, there’s an opportunity for a collision. Left and U-turns are common culprits, but even drivers turning right may be turning on a red and hit a car coming through the intersection that legally has the right of way.
- Weather. People frequently underestimate the effects rain or snow can have on roads. If they drive too fast or try to stop too quickly, they can lose control of their vehicle and crash into another.
- Driver fatigue. In many ways, this is not dissimilar to driving under the influence. A driver can be fully sober but so tired that their reflexes aren’t as responsive, or they may even fall asleep at the wheel.
What Does Texas’ Comparative Negligence Law Mean for Drivers Involved in a Collision?
Texas follows what’s called modified comparative negligence. That means that if the injured party is found to be 51% or greater at fault for the accident, they are no longer eligible to claim damages. If they’re found to be 50% or less at fault, they can request damages, but the percentage of fault will reduce the damages. For example, if someone is found 30% at fault and is awarded $10,000, they’ll receive $7,000 instead.
This is why working with an experienced personal injury attorney is vital. When someone is injured, the other party is going to work hard to shift as much blame for the accident to the injured person as possible to avoid having to pay out themselves. In a modified comparative state, that’s easier since the threshold is only 51%, compared to states that follow pure comparative negligence, which says someone can be 99% at fault and still receive 1% of the damages.
What Should I Do if I Was Involved in a Collision with Another Vehicle?
If you’re physically able, call the police to file a report because that may be important evidence if claims or lawsuits are later filed. Try to get the names, contact info, and insurance details from anyone else involved in the accident, as well as contact info for any eyewitnesses.
Next, you should see your doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel fine. Some injuries don’t show symptoms immediately, and if left untreated, they can worsen and even become dangerous. Let the doctor know you were in a vehicle accident so they know what to look for.
Then, call DB Law 24/7 at 346-818-3311 to set up a free nationwide case review. Our team of experienced, knowledgeable vehicle accident attorneys can walk you through your case and help determine the best course of action to work toward getting the outcomes you deserve.
One thing not to do after a vehicle collision: Enter into conversation with the other drivers, their insurance representatives, or their attorneys. Their primary goal will be to shift as much blame for the accident onto you as possible in order to help their client avoid paying much out. They could also try to convince you to accept a settlement that’s lower than you might receive through the courts. Don’t respond or engage, but forward all communications from them to your attorney.