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Top Five Causes of Car Accidents: Driver Actions and Behaviors That Place You at Risk of Serious Injury


Despite countless public safety campaigns and stricter traffic laws that encourage safe driving, more and more drivers take risks when they get behind the wheel. Drunk driving, cellphone distraction, and aggressive driving result in impaired, distracted, and angry drivers. This toxic roadway culture places everyday drivers at risk for serious injury. If you’ve been seriously injured due to the reckless or negligent behavior of another driver, contact a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Danger on Florida Highways and City Streets

With more than 15 million licensed drivers in Florida, drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and even pedestrians are all at risk of sustaining serious injuries. Whether commuting for work or running errands, drivers often find themselves stressed with limited time to get everything done. The rush to get home, to work, or to the store results in reckless and negligent behavior that can harm others.

The 2017 Traffic Safety Culture Index published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety notes the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality of today’s drivers. The study finds that while most drivers desire better security behind the wheel, they simultaneously contradict these beliefs by engaging in unsafe actions.

Two key findings of the study show that car accidents affect almost all of us at some point in our lives. Consider the following statistics:

  • More than one in five drivers reported involvement in a car accident from which someone had to go to the hospital and 11 percent of these drivers reported experiencing serious injury themselves.
  • Approximately one in three drivers reported having a relative seriously injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident.

Top Five Causes of Car Accidents

A car accident is a sudden and traumatic event that can happen anywhere and at any time. No matter how defensively one drives, the risk of encountering one or more of the following behaviors is a real possibility:

1. Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reading a text or email while driving averts your eyes from the road for five seconds. To put this in perspective, the NHTSA reports that at 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three main types of distracted driving:

  • Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – Taking your mind off of driving

Distracted driving killed more than 3,000 persons in 2017. As people continue to text, eat, or apply makeup while driving, these numbers will continue to climb, resulting in serious injury to others.

2. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Florida law permits officials to charge any driver who has a .08 blood alcohol level content while driving with DUI. While drunk driving accidents can occur anywhere and at any time, the risk is higher at night and on the weekends.

Drivers who choose to drink and drive often have an invincible attitude. They may doubt that law enforcement will catch them, and they sometimes claim that they have no other transportation for getting home.

The bottom line is that drunk drivers love to make excuses for their reckless actions. Incredibly alarming is the high rate at which underage drivers get behind the wheel intoxicated. The risk of a fatal crash is 10 times higher among 16- to 20-year-olds who drive while under the influence of alcohol.

3. Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is done deliberately, and aggressive drivers usually exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Changing lanes without signaling
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Speeding and tailgating
  • Blocking cars from changing lanes
  • Cutting in front of other drivers

Aggressive driving may escalate to road rage. Examples of road rage include:

  • Cursing or making obscene gestures
  • Forcing a driver off the road
  • Throwing objects
  • Sideswiping or ramming another vehicle

AAA reports that more than 100 million drivers admit to tailgating. More than 90 million drivers admit to yelling at another driver or honking their horn to show their annoyance or anger.

4. Speeding

Driving faster than the posted speed limit can result in more than a traffic ticket. Add poor road conditions and bad weather to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster. More than half of drivers recently surveyed by AAA admitted to speeding, and many admitted to running red lights in an effort to reach their destinations faster.

5. Drowsy Drivers

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy drivers are a largely under-reported traffic safety problem. This is due to several factors, including:

  • A driver may become fully alert following an accident.
  • A driver may not have been fully asleep, but instead operating the vehicle at a reduced state of alertness.
  • A driver may not have realized that they were drowsy at the time of the accident.
  • Drivers are often reluctant to admit feeling drowsy to law enforcement.
  • There is not a test to determine a driver’s level of distraction, as we have for alcohol.

Research by AAA found that drivers who slept less than seven hours during a 24-hour period faced a higher risk of a sleep-related accident.

Common Types of Car Accident Injuries

The reckless behavior of another driver can result in serious consequences for you and your passengers. Depending upon the severity of the accident, you may face a lifetime of medical bills, procedures, and medications.

Among the most common types of serious injuries are traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, neck and back injuries, and broken bones. No one should suffer physically, financially, or emotionally due to the negligence of another driver.

How Meldon Law Can Help You

A state-issued driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. All Florida drivers, including tourists, must adhere to posted speed limits and other state traffic laws. When another driver fails to share the road and you sustain a serious injury as a result, it’s time to contact Meldon Law.

Distracted, drunk, aggressive, speeding, or drowsy drivers have no place on Florida roads. If you’ve sustained a serious injury due to a driver exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, contact Meldon Law online, and we’ll schedule your free consultation.

Should we decide to proceed, we won’t settle until we reach a fair settlement for you, even if we have to take your case to trial. Meldon Law serves the areas of Gainesville, where our office number is (352) 373-8000; Ocala at (800) 373-8000, and Fort Lauderdale, at (954) 334-1276, as well as the rest of Florida.

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