Virginia, like other states, has its fair share of car accidents, and understanding the causes behind them is the first step toward safer roads. Collisions happen for a variety of reasons, often due to a combination of factors.
I’m Ed Atkinson, and as a Virginia car accident lawyer, part of my job is helping my clients determine the cause of their motor vehicle collisions. While crashes happen for numerous reasons, certain scenarios are more common than others.
Being aware of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in our state will help you drive more defensively, protecting yourself and others on the road.
Following Too Closely
According to data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, following too closely or “tailgating” is the top contributor to driver-caused accidents in our state.
When drivers tailgate, they leave insufficient space to react to sudden stops, creating a higher risk of rear-end collisions.
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Failure to Yield
The second most common documented accident cause is failure to yield. This refers to failing to obey the right-of-way and driving when you should be stopped.
When we respect others by following right-of-way laws, we help ensure the safety of our roads and protect ourselves and our fellow travelers. Remember, safe driving and yielding the right of way are fundamental to promoting a culture of road safety.
Improper Lane Changes
Next on the list is the issue of improper lane changes. When drivers fail to execute lane changes safely and correctly, they create a dangerous situation for themselves and others on the road. The consequences can range from minor fender-benders to more severe collisions, causing property damage, injuries, and even fatalities.
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Running Stop Signs and Red Lights
Disregarding traffic signals and stop signs is reckless behavior that often leads to catastrophic accidents. When drivers fail to obey these signals, they put themselves and others in harm’s way, risking potentially fatal t-bone collisions.
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Speeding is another major factor in accidents. When drivers exceed posted speed limits or drive too fast for road conditions, their ability to maneuver around obstacles or stop in time is severely compromised. Speeding also increases stopping distance, making it more difficult to avoid the car in front of you.
High-speed crashes tend to result in severe injuries and fatalities because of the heightened impact of the crash.
Illegal turns are a frequent contributor to accidents in Virginia. Collisions often occur when drivers fail to execute turns safely and legally, such as by neglecting to use their turn signals, starting turns from the wrong lane, or making abrupt and unexpected turns. Improper turns can catch other drivers off guard, leaving them little time to react.
Whether it’s a hasty left turn at a busy intersection or a failure to yield the right of way when making a turn, these actions can lead to dangerous and costly accidents.
Improper passing is yet another concerning factor contributing to accidents on Virginia roads. When drivers try to overtake other vehicles in illegal ways, it can lead to dangerous situations.
For example, passing in no-passing zones or misjudging the available space for passing can result in catastrophic head-on collisions.
Driving While Distracted
Distracted driving is a top cause of accidents because it can lead to any of the above actions. This careless behavior encompasses a wide range of activities that divert a driver’s attention from the road, including texting, eating, or even adjusting the radio.
Distraction takes a driver’s focus away from the road. Not fully paying attention while driving constitutes negligence, which is the basis of a personal injury claim.
Fatigued driving is often underestimated as a cause of accidents. Studies show that sleep-deprived or drowsy drivers have reduced cognitive abilities and impaired reflexes, similar to drunk drivers.
Falling asleep at the wheel is a real danger, making it crucial for drivers to prioritize rest and know when to call it a night. Like distracted driving, driving while fatigued can lead to other costly mistakes.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) is a significant contributor to accidents in our state. Drunk drivers have reduced reaction times, impaired judgment, and decreased coordination, which all increase the likelihood of a crash.
Virginia has strict DUI laws to discourage drunk driving, and courts often award punitive damages to accident victims as a way to punish intoxicated drivers for their blatant disregard for the safety of others.
Pursuing Compensation With the Help of a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash due to another driver’s negligence, you deserve justice and financial compensation. As an experienced personal injury attorney, I can help you navigate the legal process involved with a car accident claim.
When I accept your case, I’ll investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. If the at-fault party’s insurer won’t agree to a fair settlement, I’ll help you file a lawsuit and fight for you in court. Contact Atkinson Law today to get started with a free consultation.