Common Causes of Vehicle Accidents
Every minute, on average, a car crash happens somewhere in Texas, adding up to well over half a million traffic accidents a year. Car accidents are common – you might see one every day if you drive regularly in a metropolis like Houston – but that doesn’t mean they should happen or that they can’t be prevented. A car accident is nearly always somebody’s fault, whether it’s a negligent driver, a vehicle manufacturer, or a road agency or contractor. Below we take a look at some of the main reasons crashes occur on Texas roadways. If you’ve been hurt in a motor vehicle accident in Houston or statewide, reach out to McLemore, Reddell, & Story, P.L.L.C., for immediate help from a team of seasoned and successful Houston personal injury lawyers.
Perhaps the most prevalent cause of vehicle accidents today is distracted driving. With the integration of smartphones into every aspect of our lives, too many drivers engage in texting, talking, or using social media while operating a vehicle. The consequences of such distractions can be devastating. Drivers who get into accidents because they weren’t paying attention to the road or had their hands off the wheel can be held liable for the damage they cause.
Note that Texas law prohibits texting while driving, and failing to comply with this law can significantly weaken your position if you are involved in an accident, even if you believe you weren’t at fault.
Speeding is another major contributing factor in road accidents. Exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely, increases the time and distance needed to stop, and heightens the severity of an accident. In Texas, speed limits vary by location and road type, but generally, they range between 25 mph in residential areas to 75 mph on some highways. Note that weather and traffic conditions can require driving below the posted speed limit for safety.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs severely impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times, leading to over 25,000 drunk driving crashes (and over 1,000 deaths) in Texas each year. Texas has strict DUI/DWI laws, and anyone found driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, or whose driving is impaired by intoxication, can be arrested and charged. The fact of an arrest is strong evidence of a driver’s fault in causing a crash, although drunk driving can be proved in other ways as well.
Reckless Driving and Road Rage
Aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, and ignoring traffic signals are also common causes of vehicle accidents. Road rage incidents may escalate into dangerous situations that can result in serious injuries or fatalities.
Adverse weather conditions such as rain, fog, and ice can make roadways hazardous. Reduced visibility and slippery surfaces require extra caution, slower speeds, and increased following distances. Texas experiences a wide range of weather conditions, making it essential for drivers to adapt their driving behaviors accordingly.
Fatigue and Sleepiness
Driver fatigue is a less discussed, but equally dangerous, contributing factor in vehicle accidents. Long driving hours, lack of adequate sleep, and monotony can all lead to drowsy driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes each year in the United States.
In some cases, accidents occur not because of the driver but due to a vehicle defect. From brake failures to airbag malfunctions, these defects can cause serious accidents or increase the severity of injuries in a crash. In these situations, manufacturers can be held liable for injuries caused or exacerbated due to defects in design or manufacture.
Legal Support for Accident Victims in Texas
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident due to another party’s negligence or misconduct, securing competent legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. McLemore, Reddell, & Story, P.L.L.C. offers stellar guidance and representation for injury victims in Houston and across Texas. With extensive experience in personal injury law, our firm is equipped to handle the complexities that come with motor vehicle accidents. Call 713-303-8543 for a free consultation to explore your options and discuss your needs.