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9 Common Causes of Car Accidents

A car accident can leave everyone involved with both physical and emotional scars that may take a long time to heal. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of getting in an accident, understanding some of the more common causes of accidents may help you stay safe.

Distracted Driving

Drivers who are distracted by their phones, other occupants, or who simply take their mind off the task at hand are at an increased risk of an accident. Drivers are urged to constantly scan the road ahead of them and look in their rear mirrors every few seconds to stay alert to others around them.


Those who drive faster than the posted speed limit are generally at a higher risk for getting into an accident. This is because stopping time is increased while reaction time is decreased. Driving too fast may also increase a driver’s risk for a rollover accident.


Potholes are dangerous because they create uneven conditions on the road’s surface. This may cause a vehicle to tip or spin out of control at high rates of speed. They generally form during the cold winter months through constant expansion and contraction of the asphalt.

Slick or Icy Roads

Wet roads increase your accident risk because a car’s tires cannot make good contact with the road. When moisture freezes, it is almost impossible for a tire to grip the road, which may cause the vehicle to spin out.

Reduced Visibility

Rainy or snowy conditions can make it harder to see because you can’t use your high beams. Driving at night may be more dangerous because visibility is reduced even when using headlights. Lack of visibility can also hinder your depth perception, which may make it harder to judge when or if you need to slow down or stop.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving generally impairs a driver’s reflexes and ability to perceive hazards, which may make it harder to avoid other cars or pedestrians in his or her path. An impaired driver may also swerve into other lanes or drive faster than advised for current road conditions.

Tire Blowout

A popped or blown out tire could cause a vehicle to skid suddenly into other lanes of traffic. It could also cause the car to come to a sudden stop, which may increase the odds of a rear end collision.

Road Structure or Curvature

Back roads or even main thoroughfares can curve or bend unexpectedly. If a driver can’t anticipate this curve or bend, he or she may not be able to slow down in time, which may result in a rollover crash or a collision with another object or vehicle.

Unexpected Objects or Hazards

Common unexpected hazards include animals, pedestrians, or debris crossing or blocking the roadway. Even if a driver is able to avoid the hazard itself, the act of swerving or immediate breaking my cause an accident.

While we hope that pointing out these nine common accidents help you stay alert and safe, we know that not all accidents are avoidable. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact a local attorney today to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. As this top DC car accident lawyer reminds us, help is just around the corner. 

Thanks to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into common car accidents.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.