Common Car Accident Causes and When You Should Call an Attorney

Car wrecks, at best, are a massive inconvenience. At worst, they result in costly injuries. Either way, they’re expensive and dangerous, so we all have to do our best on the road to be cautious and attentive. 

The latest report by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute showed 175,816 collisions in Indiana in 2020. In 2022, there were 774 fatal crashes.

In this article, you’ll learn the most common causes of car accidents, including illegal behavior, driving errors, environmental causes, and vehicle malfunctions. You’ll also learn when to contact an attorney and what evidence you should collect from the scene.

Car Accident Causes

Illegal Behavior Resulting in Car Accidents

Failing to abide by driving laws can have disastrous consequences. If you’re involved in a car accident involving illegal driving maneuvers, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney. 


Accidents are much more likely to happen when people drive recklessly or too fast. Driving this way gives drivers less time to react and makes it difficult for them to stay in control of their vehicles. 

When drivers disregard speed limits and other road rules, they endanger themselves and other drivers by increasing the likelihood of a speed-related accident. Going over the speed limit also increases the force of impact during collisions, causing more severe injuries and damage than if those involved traveled at lower speeds. 

Distracted Driving 

Most car accidents in the U.S. today result from distracted driving caused by drivers who aren’t paying full attention to the road and their surroundings. Distracted driving is dangerous and irresponsible behavior. Distracted drivers may be talking or texting on their phones, eating or drinking while driving, adjusting the radio or GPS device, or even daydreaming. 


Every year, 28 people die every day in car accidents caused by drunk or drugged drivers. This is one of the most preventable and still common causes of death on our roads.  Research shows that impaired drivers are more likely to take greater risks on the road, increasing their chances of getting into an accident. Drunk driving is also linked with higher speed, disregarding traffic laws, tailgating, and other unsafe behavior. Also, drinking can slow down your reaction time and make it harder to focus, increasing the risk of car accidents. Unfortunately, drunk driving claims thousands of lives each year and has become a serious public safety hazard.

Reckless Driving 

Aggressive drivers who try to dominate other motorists by intimidating them with hostile behavior can cause serious accidents.  Aggressive driving is the cause of 66% of traffic fatalities

This kind of driving can be especially dangerous on busy roads, where other drivers might not expect to see someone driving so carelessly. 

Reckless driving includes:

  • Going too fast
  • Not signaling turns or lane changes
  • Ignoring stop signs and other traffic signals
  • Driving the wrong way
  • Tailgating
  • Swerving in and out of lanes


Overloading is dangerous when a vehicle’s total weight exceeds its recommended capacity. This can cause the car to become unstable and unsafe for the driver and passengers. It can also put extra strain on the car’s brakes, tires, and steering system, leading to faster wear and tear or even a catastrophic failure. 

Overloading can also be hazardous in extreme weather conditions such as intense heat or icy roads. Additional weight may cause the engine to overheat.  At the same time, icy conditions increase the risk of skidding or sliding due to excessive load. 

Driving Errors that Cause Accidents

Sudden Stops 

Indiana law prohibits following another vehicle more closely than is “reasonable and prudent.” This is to prevent accidents during a sudden stop. If someone rear-ends the car in front of them they are likely following too close and may be at fault. With the appropriate amount of distance, even during a sudden stop, the person should be able to stop in time. 

The three-second rule is a driving technique used to maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. It works by ensuring that you have enough time and distance to stop or swerve if the vehicle in front of you suddenly stops or encounters an obstacle.

To use the three-second rule, pick a stationary object on the side of the road, such as a sign or a tree. When the vehicle in front of you passes that object, start counting. If you reach the object before you finish counting to three, you are following too closely and should increase your following distance. However, you should increase your distance in bad weather or if you’re driving at high speeds. 

Unfamiliar Areas 

The unfamiliarity of areas can lead to car wrecks in various ways.  For example, drivers may need to be made aware that the speed limit has changed in certain areas or areas with winding or sharp turns.  This can make it easy for drivers to go too fast for the road conditions and lose control of their cars. Also, drivers unfamiliar with an area might not know about things like big potholes on the road. Lastly, drivers may not know where they are going because they are not familiar with the area. They may stop or change lanes quickly without signaling, which can easily cause a crash with another car.  


The inexperience of teenage drivers is a major contributing factor to car accidents, as they often lack the knowledge and experience needed to navigate and operate a vehicle safely.  In fact, 16-19 year-olds are more likely than any other age group to be involved in fatal car crashes. 


Car accidents caused by drowsy driving often occur at night, with drivers having trouble staying awake due to lack of sleep, long hours on the road, fatigue from long workdays, and other types of exhaustion. Accidents like these can often happen during late-night or early-morning commutes. At those hours, drivers are already tired and have trouble focusing or acting quickly enough in potentially hazardous situations. 

Common Environmental Car Accident Causes

Wildlife Crossings 

Animal crossings are one of the reasons car accidents can happen.  When animals venture into high-traffic areas, they can put themselves in danger by getting too close to cars and possibly even causing collisions. This is why it’s so important to always be on the lookout for animals and to take extra care when driving in areas where wildlife may be present. 

Poor Weather Conditions 

Heavy rain, fog, and snow are hazardous conditions for driving. Car accidents during rainy weather are common due to the hazardous conditions created by standing water on roadways.  Rainfall causes roads to become slick with oil and grease, reducing tire traction and making it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles. 

Road Quality 

Driving over poorly-maintained roads with potholes has become one of the leading causes of car accidents and auto insurance claims in recent years. Even small potholes can cause severe damage to a car’s suspension system, tires, and wheels. This makes it more likely that the driver will lose control of the car or the tires will blow out completely. Many drivers are unprepared for sudden pothole impact, making it challenging to swerve or adjust quickly enough to avoid a collision or coming off the road.

Nighttime Driving 

Driving in the dark can significantly increase a person’s risk of being involved in a car accident. Nighttime driving nearly doubles an individual’s chance of being involved in a collision due to decreased visibility and decreased ability to perceive potential hazards. Other factors contributing to increased car accident risk while driving at night include fatigue, glare from oncoming headlights, and intoxicated drivers on the road. 

Inadequate Signage 

Poorly marked roads or confusing signs can lead drivers to make wrong turns and end up in areas they weren’t expecting. Drivers may also miss turns and continue down the wrong road, eventually putting them in dangerous situations. In addition, when people are unfamiliar with an area, inadequate signage can make them feel disoriented and cause them to take risky maneuvers that could lead to an accident.  

Another way that inadequate signs cause accidents is when they don’t give drivers the information they need to drive safely. For example, suppose a sign doesn’t make it clear when a curve, intersection, or speed limit is coming up. In that case, drivers might not be ready for them and drive recklessly or make sudden mistakes that could cause an accident.

Construction Sites 

Construction sites often feature uneven pavement and loose materials scattered throughout the area, which can create slick surfaces for vehicles to drive on. Many drivers don’t pay extra attention when driving through construction sites because they see them daily on their commute. This can lead to dangerous situations that could cause accidents. 

Vehicle Malfunctions Resulting in Car Accidents

Poorly Maintained Vehicles or Older vehicles 

People who do not maintain their vehicles properly may risk their car break when they least expect it. Older cars are less reliable, and parts may malfunction while drivers are on the road. Tires and brakes can fail, steering can become unresponsive, and other vehicle problems can lead to accidents.

Vehicle Design Defects 

Another common car accident results from a design defect in an automobile component. When parts are manufactured improperly or with defective materials, they can malfunction or fail when put under stress, leading to catastrophic results on the road. 

In some cases, these defects can be there right from the factory and won’t be found until it’s too late. Manufacturers must take every precaution possible to ensure that their products are safe and reliable.  You can stay updated on the latest manufactured recalls on The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

What Information Should I  Collect After a Car Wreck?

When you are involved in a car accident, gathering the appropriate information and evidence is essential for your insurance claim. 

  • Take pictures of the accident scene from all angles, including any damage done to both cars, skid marks, or other debris at the scene. Photographs can help show what happened and can often be used as evidence in court if necessary.
  • Collect contact and insurance information from everyone involved in the accident.
  • Document any injuries sustained during the accident by taking pictures of bruises or lacerations.
  • Keep an up-to-date list of any medical bills you receive from the accident. This includes visits to the doctor, ambulance rides, physical therapy appointments, and pain management medications filled. 
  • Save all paperwork from your insurance company related to the claim; this includes estimates for repairs and rental cars and communication regarding payments made by your insurer.

How Do I Prove Negligent Driving?

Proving reckless or negligent driving always involves obtaining evidence. Evidence helps to demonstrate the driver’s actions that led to the accident and can establish a negligence claim. 

Witnesses can provide information about the speed and direction of travel of both vehicles at the time of impact. They can also mention if there were any dangerous driving maneuvers before or during the incident. In addition, they can give information about any comments made by the drivers following the collision. 

Police officers investigating an accident may also document their findings in an official report explaining the events leading to and during an accident. 

Photographs taken at the scene of an accident can show physical evidence of reckless behavior, such as tire skid marks or damage to both vehicles. To further corroborate these facts, dashcam footage, speedometer calibration records (if available), and expert testimonies from crash reconstruction specialists may be necessary to present a compelling case.

When Should I Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident?

In the moments after a car accident, the most important thing is to seek medical attention and ensure everyone’s safety. After that, it is essential to consider the legal aspects of the situation. 

After a car accident, the first thing to do is to talk to an attorney before you talk with any insurance adjusters. For example, if there were severe injuries, talking to an experienced car accident lawyer can be helpful.

A lawyer can provide invaluable advice regarding state and local laws surrounding car accidents which could affect potential settlements or court rulings. Also, supposing the accident was someone else’s fault, an attorney can help protect your rights and determine whether they are liable for any other damages.  Attorneys understand how insurance companies operate and can help ensure that all necessary documents are completed correctly to maximize compensation for injured parties. 

Legal claims about car accidents must be filed within a certain amount of time, so it’s best not to wait too long before contacting a lawyer.

Contact Tuley Law Office Today

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, your top priority should be recovering. Whether emotionally, physically, or financially, you need an experienced Evansville car accident attorney by your side. We can review your car accident incident to see if you have a case, pursue compensation, and, if necessary, represent you in court.

Our legal team at Tuley Law Office has decades of combined experience to offer you the legal advice you deserve. Contact a member of our team today by filling out our form or calling (812) 625-2053 to get started on your car accident claim. 

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