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The Most Common Cause of Collision

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The Most Common Cause of Collision

Millions of collisions and car accidents occur every year. While there are a variety of causes for crashes, some are more common than others. We’ve put together a list of the most common causes of collision; read on below to learn more about why car accidents happen (and what you can do to try to avoid them).

The Most Common Cause of Collision

The Most Common Causes of Collision

Driving Under the influence

We all know that driving under the influence is incredibly dangerous; but did you know that about one-third of driver fatalities in the US occurs with a BAC of .08 or higher? Crashes that involve alcohol-impaired drivers kill almost 30 people across America every day.

Blood alcohol concentration: the effects

  • BAC of 0.02: Some loss of judgment; altered mood, slight body warmth
  • BAC of 0.05: Impaired judgment; exaggerated behavior, lowered alertness
  • BAC of 0.08: Judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired; poor muscle coordination
  • BAC of 0.10: Slurred speech, slowed thinking, extremely slowed reaction time, minimal control
  • BAC of 0.15: Minimal muscle control, the potential for vomiting, extreme balance loss

Usually, a person with an elevated BAC level cannot maintain their lane position or use their brakes correctly.

Driving under the influence of marijuana

Alcohol isn’t the only substance that impairs your ability to drive. Marijuana also changes a person’s reaction time and means of judgment. More and more people are beginning to use marijuana, and driving under the influence of cannabis has become increasingly common.

Studies demonstrate that more than one in ten nighttime and weekend drivers have marijuana in their systems.

Drowsy driving

The CDC defines drowsy driving as “the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue.” Drowsy driving usually happens because a person has not slept enough. It can also happen because of medications, untreated sleep disorders, and drinking.

Falling asleep at the wheel clearly presents a huge danger, but even driving while a little drowsy is risky. Drowsiness impacts someone’s ability to drive safely.


  • Slows reaction time
  • Makes drivers less attentive
  • Inhibits a driver’s ability to make decisions

If you ever experience the signs of drowsy driving while you’re behind the wheel, change drivers or pull over somewhere safe to take a 20-minute nap.

Some people are more likely to drive drowsy. People who don’t get enough sleep are at risk of driving drowsy. This includes shift workers and commercial drivers. Drivers who use medications that make them tired and those with untreated sleep disorders are also more likely to drive while drowsy.

Driving drowsy is similar to driving drunk. Certain studies have shown that driving while tired or drowsy impairs your ability to drive the same way that driving under the influence does. Lack of sleep impacts:

  • Coordination
  • Judgment
  • Reaction time

Drowsy driving is impaired driving. Drowsiness qualifies as a cognitive impairment.

Distracted driving

Every day, eight Americans die in collisions reported to involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving puts everybody at risk—even people who aren’t in cars. One in five people killed in accidents involving distracted drivers is not in vehicles

Any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the act of driving constitutes a distraction. When someone drives distracted, they increase the chance of a car accident. According to the CDC, there are three primary types of driver distractions: cognitive, manual, and visual.

  • Manual: Require drivers to remove one or both of their hands from the steering wheel; grabbing a phone, eating, reaching back to help children
  • Cognitive: Require drivers to take their mental focus away from driving; holding a discussion, daydreaming
  • Visual: Require drivers to take their eyes off of the road; backseat passengers, in-vehicle entertainment

The most dangerous types of distractions are the ones that combine the above. Texting is a good example. Texting is a manual, cognitive, and visual distraction.


Speeding has been linked to one in three motor vehicle fatalities for more than twenty years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shared that speeding:

  • Increases the likelihood of loss of vehicle control
  • Reduces the effectiveness of both occupant and road protection equipment
  • Increases stopping distance after perceived danger
  • A heightened degree of crash severity

Unfortunately, people speed for lots of reasons. Some people speed to be intentionally reckless or aggressive. Other people speed because they are running late or feel pressure to be somewhere. No matter why somebody speeds, it’s dangerous to those around them.

Aggressive driving

According to AAA, almost 80 percent of drivers report expressing significant anger, aggression, or road rage while driving at least one time in the previous 30 days. Road rage and aggressive driving are prevalent in the US; any unsafe driving behavior that is performed deliberately and with disregard for safety (or ill intention) constitutes aggressive driving.

Aggressive driving can look different depending on the situation. Some examples include:

  • Speeding (especially in heavy traffic)
  • Running stop signs or red lights
  • Tailgating
  • Swerving, cutting in front of other drivers (someone may even slow down after doing so)
  • Blocking cars attempting to change lanes or pass

Road rage

Think of road rage as aggressive driving taken up a level. Extreme instances of aggressive driving may escalate into road rage.

Some examples of actions that indicate road rage include:

  • Ramming
  • Throwing objects
  • Yelling, cursing, using obscene gestures
  • Sideswiping
  • Forcing other drivers off of the road

Night driving

Most of us need to drive at night at some point. With that said, night driving can be dangerous—even if you’re totally comfortable on the road. The National Safety Council has even stated that nighttime is the most dangerous time to drive.

Here’s why:

  • Rush hour congests roads and makes it difficult to drive; many drivers may drive recklessly or aggressively to try to beat traffic
  • Our vision is compromised at night—it’s harder to see potential risks on the road and to navigate when it’s dark outside
  • Some people also drive recklessly after dark for other reasons; racing (and speeding in general) is very common after the sun goes down
  • The glare from oncoming headlights may make it impossible to see

Visibility at night. Did you know that even high-beam headlights don't increase visibility beyond 500 feet? That figure drops to 250 feet for normal headlights. If someone is driving at night, they don’t always have time to react to things on the road. This is especially true if the person exceeds the speed limit or drives too fast for conditions.

Inclement weather

Approximately 21 percent of the nearly 6 million vehicle crashes that occur every year are weather-related. Most of these accidents occur on wet pavement and during rainfall.

Adverse weather conditions don’t just make it hard for us to drive from place to place, either. Some weather makes it difficult for winter road maintenance, traffic management, emergency management, and law enforcement agencies to do their jobs. This presents an increased risk to drivers who get into accidents.

What Damages Can I Recover After a Collision?

What Damages Can I Recover After a Collision

When someone is hurt in an accident, they may have the right to seek compensation for the damages they experience. Damages take lots of different forms: medical bills, property damage, mental anguish, lost wages, etc.

Every collision case is unique. That means that the damages and compensation amounts involved in each case are unique, too. Nobody can tell you exactly which damages you can recover or how much they’re worth; but here’s a primer on some of the most commonly sought damages after car accidents.

Medical bills

If you’ve incurred medical bills because of your accident, those bills may be compensable. You can even work with your attorney to fight for compensation for projected medical bills associated with the collision too. Lots of people need to pay medical bills for quite some time after an accident; you don’t need to worry about future costs if you receive compensation for those damages.

Compensation for medical expenses includes a wide range of costs. Everything—from surgeries and prescriptions to custom-made medical equipment—is eligible for compensation.

Pain and suffering

Many car accidents cause survivors immense pain and suffering. If your injuries lead to physical pain, you deserve compensation for your experiences. No amount of money can account for the physical toll of an accident, but compensation is there to help.

Keep in mind that injuries don’t need to be severe to cause pain and suffering. You deserve to be compensated for your experiences regardless of the degree of your injuries.

Mental anguish

Collisions can have a deep mental and emotional impact on survivors, too. You don’t deserve to face anxiety, grief, or hopelessness because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. You can work with a lawyer to pursue compensation for mental anguish after a crash.

Lost wages

When you get into a collision, you may miss time from work as a result. Many people need to take days, weeks, or even months off of work due to their injuries after a crash. Even if you “only” missed a day or two on the job, it can still have serious financial consequences.

This is why collision survivors can pursue compensation for lost wages. If you missed out on pay because of your accident, you can ask your attorney more about damages for lost wages.

Diminished earning capacity

Compensation for lost wages can help when you miss time from work. What happens if you have to leave your job because of your injuries, though? What if your ability to earn money is permanently diminished by your collision?

Here’s where compensation for diminished earning capacity comes into play. If a car accident changes somebody’s ability to earn money, they can pursue damages to account for their diminished earning capacity. ‘

Finding a Reliable Lawyer After Your Collision

No matter what caused your collision, you likely stand to benefit from working with a car accident attorney. He or she can help you fight for justice and compensation after an accident. Here are the general steps you’ll follow as you begin the process of finding an attorney.

Finding Your Attorney

It’s important to note that you don’t have to work with a lawyer to achieve a settlement or file a lawsuit. Lawyers simply help their clients complete the process more effectively and efficiently. People have better luck demanding compensation when they have a lawyer by their side.

Once it’s time for you to begin searching for an attorney, there are some things you should keep in mind.

For example:

  • You can and should meet with multiple lawyers! This way, you can find the one that’s the right fit for your individual needs
  • Look for a lawyer with trial experience; most cases settle outside of court, but you want somebody who can help you no matter where your case goes

Working With Your Attorney

Your attorney will work to investigate the accident and determine what happened. He or she will build a case centered around securing you fair compensation. Your lawyer will also negotiate for the damages you wish to pursue.

During this time, you may be asked to assist in the process by:

  • Answering questions
  • Completing forms
  • Sharing information and evidence

Most cases settle during the negotiation phase. This means that your case will likely settle outside of court.

Filing a lawsuit

This only applies if your case fails to settle outside of court. If your case cannot settle out of court, your lawyer may file a car accident lawsuit on your behalf. This allows you and the liable party to present evidence, give statements, and tell your side of the story.

Russell Nicolet
Russell Nicolet, Car Accident Lawyer
  • Your case may require mediation or a trial

Someone I Love Was Killed in a Car Accident

If you lost a loved one in a car accident, there may be an opportunity for you to pursue justice on their behalf. You can work with a wrongful death lawyer (many car accident attorneys have experience with wrongful death cases) to build a case. A qualified wrongful death attorney may help you recover end-of-life and other costs after your loved one’s passing.



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Nicolet Law Office is honored to have been nominated for numerous awards for excellence in service and client satisfaction. Our attorneys have appeared in such prestigious lists as Top 40 Under 40 and Rising Stars. While we’re thankful to have the support of industry peers and independent third-party organizations, nothing beats the feeling of gratitude we share with clients when we can make a positive impact on their lives.

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