August 10, 2023


What are the Common Causes of Car Accidents in the US?

There's no way around it – car accidents happen to everyone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in the United States, in 2020 alone, there were 5,250,837 collisions.1

Even if you're a fantastic driver, someone else might still collide with you unexpectedly. 

You can't always count on other drivers to be as cautious as you are. If you end up in an accident that's not your fault, you shouldn't bear the burden of damages caused by someone else's mistakes. That's where filing a car accident claim with your insurance provider comes in – it's a way to safeguard yourself.

A single-car accident can lead to various problems, from damages to injuries and stress. To protect your financial security, think ahead and be aware of the potential distractions on the road.

That's why it's so important to have consistent car insurance; you never know what will happen on the road. 

At OCHO, we make that easy for you. We have streamlined the application process, so not only is everything in plain English and Spanish, you can get set up quickly and even qualify for zero down payment! Try it out today!

Let's explore the most frequent reasons for car accidents so that you can ensure your safety and those around you.

The Main Causes of Car Accidents

What is Distracted Driving?

We all know safe driving requires your complete attention on the road. A potential distraction heightens your chances of having an accident. Distracted driving covers any activity not related to driving. Distractions include texting or chatting, changing the radio, or talking to your passengers.

There are three main types of distraction2

Many people do not understand the dangers of distracted driving; it is now the leading cause of car accidents. 

Here are some more examples of distracted driving so you can remember to stay sharp behind the wheel:

Cell Phone use While Driving

According to a report by the World Health Organisation3 , you are four times as likely to have an auto accident if you use your phone while driving, with text messaging having the most severe impact.

Driving not only involves hand-eye coordination but your complete attention. Paying attention to your phone means your priorities must be right. 

Using a cell phone while driving is most prevalent in teen drivers; a higher percentage of drivers ages 15–204 were distracted than drivers ages 21 and older. If you are a younger driver or have one in your household, ensure the cell phone is in the Do Not Disturb mode.

You can check your messages and calls when you stop or arrive at your destination; your friends and family will understand that you must focus on driving!

Adjusting GPS, Climate Control, or the Radio

GPS systems are so convenient we could hardly live without them now, right? However, it can be so fiddly and distracting to update the route while driving! Before you begin your journey, set your navigation system and pull over if you need to make any route adjustments. Or, if you have a passenger with you, ask them to update it.

Tweaking your vehicle's temperature might seem harmless, but it briefly shifts your attention away from safe driving, especially if it's a new car you aren't used to. When you reach over to adjust the controls, you're momentarily taking your hand off the wheel, which affects your control. Don't hesitate to ask a front-seat passenger to help you or pull over at the safest spot if you need to change it yourself. 

We've all been in the car when our favorite tune comes on the radio, and we want to pump up the volume and sing at the top of our lungs. Right? Or is it just me? Or even worse - a song you hate comes on, and you want to change the channel! However, loud music can be very distracting, and as we've seen from the other examples, fiddling with controls takes your valuable attention away from where it should be. 

Eating and Drinking While Driving

Modern life is fast-paced; I get it. It's tempting to try and gobble that sandwich while you're driving to save some time. But balancing food in one hand and the steering wheel in the other means you are being seriously and dangerously distracted. Try to set aside some time to eat before or after you need to drive so that you'll not only drive safer; you'll enjoy your meal more. 

Driving While Drowsy 

Studies reveal that driving while sleepy poses a comparable risk to driving under the influence of alcohol. Being excessively tired can cloud your decision-making, delay your responsiveness, affect your eyesight, and even lead to dozing off while driving.

Should you find yourself struggling to stay awake or maintain focus, it's crucial to safely maneuver to the road's shoulder and take a break. If you're close to home or a hotel, consider halting and getting some rest before continuing your journey.

Distractions from Other Passengers 

Whether it's the notorious "Are we nearly there yet?" from kids, teenagers fighting over the music, or dogs trying to climb into the front seat, it can be difficult to concentrate with so much commotion. 

Help your children to be the distracted ones - not you, by providing them with snacks, road games, or books. I promise it's not bribery. Many pet stores sell car seats for pets so you can strap your furry friend in safely. These measures will ensure you make it to your destination safely and with your sanity intact. 

Driving Under the Influence, How Dangerous is it?

When you see the statistics for driving while intoxicated, it is frightening. In the United States, one person dies every 39 minutes5 from drunk-driving crashes. The sobering fact is that these are all completely preventable deaths.

Alcohol is a substance that diminishes brain function, affecting thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination. All of these faculties are vital for safely operating a vehicle.

Driving under the influence of alcohol (or any drug) is a significant offense. Drunk driving is not only one of the most dangerous causes of accidents in the U.S. but also the most deadly. Even a small bit of alcohol can impact your ability to drive safely. In 2021, 2,266 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents where a driver had a Blood Alcohol Level of .01 to .07 g/dL.

So even if you've just had a small amount and feel OK, it's not worth risking your life or someone else's. Especially when ride-sharing apps are readily available or ask a friend or family member to get you home safely. 

Strict implementation of laws against drunk driving has played a pivotal role in decreasing alcohol-related driving fatalities since the 1980s. Consequences vary from minor violations to severe felony charges, including license suspension, monetary fines, and potential incarceration. Furthermore, the financial toll is substantial.

For a first-time offense, the driver might face expenses exceeding $10,000 in fines and legal costs. It will also affect your car insurance costs in the future, increasing the overall price of your insurance significantly. 

Prepare a safe ride home before the party begins by appointing a sober friend as a designated driver. If you notice someone drinking, ensure they don't drive by taking their keys and assisting in arranging a sober ride.

When it comes to drinking, never get behind the wheel. Instead, call a taxi, use a ride-hailing service, or reach out to a sober friend for a ride. If you're hosting a party with alcohol, ensure every guest departs with a designated driver.

Your top safeguard against impaired drivers is always wearing your seatbelt.

How Are Car Accidents Linked to Speeding?

Based on research conducted by, the most commonly used excuse for speeding, cited by 26% of individuals when pulled over by a police officer, is "I wasn't aware I was speeding."

Each speed limit is tailored to a particular road segment, aiming to ensure our safety. We've all felt the temptation to exceed the speed limit when running behind, but remember, speeding ranks as the second most prevalent cause of accidents. When that urge hits, consciously resist, adhere to lawful limits, and reach your destination safely.

Speed limits serve a vital purpose. They're carefully set to ensure you have ample time to slow down for obstacles and other vehicles. Driving too fast makes accidents more likely and also increases the chance of getting seriously hurt or killed.

Imagine you're going 50 in a 35 zone – you might struggle to halt at a red light on time, or your braking might come too late if a child darts into the road after their ball. Regardless of how it might seem, sticking to the speed limit is crucial.

Speeding is a significant contributor to car accidents. When drivers exceed speed limits, their reaction time to road changes diminishes, increasing the risk of accidents. Here are the three key takeaways about speeding:

Engaging in aggressive driving, speeding, weaving through traffic, tailgating, and other hostile behaviors are all classified as reckless driving, and they significantly contribute to the high number of yearly accidents.

Remember, everyone on the road has destinations to reach, so extend the courtesy you'd appreciate. Drive with the demeanor of a considerate and respectful individual.

Reckless driving constitutes a traffic violation that can lead to fines, license points, and incarceration. It can significantly increase your insurance costs as well. 

Drivers who exhibit reckless driving tendencies are at a greater risk of accidents.

Stay vigilant on the road, adopting a defensive driving approach while remaining mindful of fellow drivers.

Top Tips to Avoid Car Accidents 

At OCHO, we know how expensive and unfair getting car insurance can be. That's why we are committed to providing you with as smooth and easy a process as possible to find cheap car insurance to meet your needs, no matter your financial situation. We believe in you so much one out of every two people can get zero down payment. Through our excellent technology and friendly customer service, we can help you find the right car insurance. Contact us today and get started!