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6 Human Factors that Cause the Most Car Collisions in CA

Some car accidents are outside of a driver’s control. You can’t stop a coyote from running out in front of your car or anticipate a major roadway hazard around a blind curve. There are however other accidents in California caused by human negligence that are entirely preventable. They happen because of unsafe driving behaviors.

What are the Primary Causes of Car Collisions by Human Negligence?

To avoid car accidents and appropriately respond to dangerous drivers, keep these primary collision-causing factors in mind:

1.)  Age – In the state of California, 16-year-olds are almost four times more likely to get into a crash than drivers across all ages. Those in the 16-19 year-old category are 2.7 times more likely to crash. If you see a young driver, you may want to steer clear. Young drivers involved in fatal accidents often engage in unsafe driving behaviors including speeding, ignoring right-of-way rules, and making improper turns.

2.)  Distractions – Our state has some tough rules on cellphone use in vehicles, but unsafe distractions can include more than technology. Fiddling with a radio, digging in a bag, reaching into the back seat, and paying more attention to the radio or a conversation than the roadway can all increase the likelihood of a crash. While distractions do not cause crashes in and of themselves, they do precipitate other accident-causing driving behaviors including a failure to maintain lane, erratic speeds, and failure to follow traffic signals.

3.)  Drunk Driving – In 2015, 705 Californians died on the roadways because of drunk driving and close to 19,000 suffered injuries. Driving under the influence caused 12,776 accidents that year. Despite public outreach and sobriety efforts, drunk driving remains a concern in the state of California. Drunk drivers have lowered reaction times and reduced decision-making capabilities. Drinking and driving simply don’t mix.

4.)  Speeding – Whether a primary or secondary factor in a collision, speeding almost always makes an appearance in collision reports. Many people speed because they believe it will shorten a commute time. In reality, speed rarely shortens travel times. Speeding not only increases the likelihood of a crash, it also increases the severity of a crash. High-speed crashes magnify the impact and injuries of any accident.

5.)  Road Rage – Tailgating, brake-checking, and other discourteous behaviors are all common factors in collisions. When irritated drivers behave irrationally behind the wheel, they may swerve into other vehicles, cause a rear-ending accident, or run off the road themselves. Reckless driving behaviors are illegal in the state of California. Take out your aggression on a punching bag, not the roadways.

6.)  Fatigue – Tiredness can impair a driver’s decision-making capabilities and increase the likelihood that he or she will fall asleep behind the wheel. While not as common as the other major collision factors, fatigue will increase the likelihood of an accident on California’s roadways.

Dangerous driving habits are associated with more than the occasional fender bender. These main collision-causing factors lead to some of the most injurious and deadly accidents recorded on California’s roads. Each one increases the likelihood and severity of a collision.

The good news is that the most common factors in California collisions are also the most avoidable. Maintaining a safe distance between cars, focusing on the roadway, avoiding driving while impaired, following the posted speed limits, and watching out for other unsafe drivers can all protect drivers from severe or life-threatening collisions.

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