Leading Causes of Serious Accidents in California

Car accidents are common occurrences on congested roads and highways in San Diego and throughout Southern California. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 40,000 people were killed and 4.5 million individuals suffered serious injuries nationwide in 2018. All motorists have a duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws our San Diego auto accident lawyer explains.

Unfortunately, these duties are frequently breached when a tragic, yet preventable, car crash occurs in Southern California.

reason for severe car crashes

Distracted Driving

When someone is engaged in distracted driving, his eyes and mind aren't on the task, and his hands might not be on the steering wheel. In a few seconds, a motorist can travel the distance of a football field without being attentive to his driving or the fact that he's about to cause a wreck.

Common types of distracted driving include:

  • Texting and talking on a cellphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Fiddling with instrument controls
  • Reading a GPS
  • Browsing social media or other online content
  • Engaging in personal grooming
  • Talking to passengers


When a motorist is intoxicated due to alcohol or drug use, his judgment, vision, ability to gauge distances, and reaction time are seriously impaired. A drunk or high individual is much more likely to excessively speed, tailgate other drivers, engage in reckless driving, and drive the wrong way on a highway ramp or road. Victims of these tragic collisions often suffer catastrophic injuries or death.

Drowsy Driving

Driving while fatigued can affect a person’s skills in similar ways as intoxication. Unfortunately, in our fast-paced lives, many people drive when they're too tired and cause collisions because they're fighting to stay awake or fell asleep at the wheel.


If a motorist exceeds the speed limit, he or she needs to remember there are two aspects for stopping safely: perception reaction distance and braking deceleration distance. In other words, by the time a person notices a hazard or obstacle ahead and needs to stop, it's probably too late to avoid a crash if he or she is speeding. If someone is traveling 45 mph, the total safe stopping distance is 196 ft.—that's approximately 12 car lengths.


Drivers are required to maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead of them. When they tailgate another motorist, they're engaging in a dangerous form of aggressive driving that can cause a rear-end collision. In many cases, a person who is tailgating will be presumed to be at fault because he was following too closely.


Fog, rain, and ice can reduce visibility and make roads treacherous. Drivers who fail to reduce their speeds for more careful maneuvering can cause a collision that can quickly turn into a multi-vehicle pileup.

Aggressive Driving

Tailgating, weaving between lanes, speeding, and running red lights are some forms of aggressive driving that cause deadly wrecks. The situation can become even more dangerous if someone's behaviors escalate into road rage, during which he uses his vehicle or a weapon to threaten or injure others.

Automobile Defects or Malfunctions

In some cases, the cause of a collision is a defect in a vehicle part; or a lack of maintenance that causes the brakes, tires, or another component to fail. If a defect in a part’s design or manufacturing caused the crash, the victim may have a product liability claim against the parts and auto manufacturer.

Let Us Help You Obtain Injury Compensation

Were you or a loved one hurt in a car accident in San Diego County or Southern California? You need a knowledgeable car accident attorney who can help you build a strong case of negligence against the at-fault driver so you receive the proper compensation for your injuries.

To start learning about your legal rights, order my free book, The 10 Secrets You Need to Know About Your Injury Case Before You Call an Attorney. Then, call my office to schedule your free case evaluation.

Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney