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Causes of Car Accidents


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Facts - Books - News    U.S. Facts Of Law:

Causes of Car Accidents

Auto accidents can happen for many causes. Often there are multiple causes of car accidents. These can include:


* Excessive speed - Exceeding the speed limit or driving faster than road conditions permit

* Driver Impairment - Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

* Mechanical Failure - The vehicle can experience a problem such as brake failure

* Road Conditions - Roads can be icy, snowy or in poor repair and other weather events such as rain or fog can contribute to accidents

* Road Design - Some roadway areas are dangerous unless you are prepared for them such as blind curves and intersections or merging lanes

* Driver Distraction - Talking on cell phones or to passengers are examples of the many common distractions drivers face


Excessive speed has been singled out as the single most contributing condition to accidents and their severity.  Although speed alone is rarely the major cause of an accident it is often a contributing factor in causing the accident and increasing the amount of damage caused.  It is interesting to note that the amount of energy dissipated in an accident increases as a square of the increase in speed.  In other words, a car traveling at 40mph has FOUR TIMES the amount of kinetic energy as a car traveling 20mph and a resulting accident would most likely result in four times as much damage to objects and occupants if striking an immovable object.


Attempts have been made to force auto manufacturers to install governors on car engines to limit the amount of speed possible.  These efforts have been opposed by governments, manufacturers and end users primarily because speed and power are key selling points for many automobiles.  Also, there is little evidence that such devices would significantly lower the number of auto accidents and their severity.


During the gas crises of the 1970's highway speeds were lowered significantly in an effort to conserve fuel.  This proved to also be effective in reducing severe highway accidents.  However, after the shortage was over, the public pressured governments to raise the lower speed limits.


A significant cause of accidents that falls under the "driver distractions" group is rubbernecking.  This is the practice by most drivers to be distracted by roadside events such as accidents or other unusual roadside activities.  The term comes from the appearance of extending ones neck to raise the head higher to get a good view.  Obviously, a driver watching an event on the side of the road is not paying attention to his driving and the vehicles ahead and is at a much increased risk of being involved in an accident.  Additionally, slowing down to look also contributes to traffic congestion and increases the risk of accident for those cars behind the vehicle.


Although, it is prudent to exercise caution when there are other vehicles, pedestrians, accidents or other objects near the road, excessive slowing or not paying attention to the road often are causes of car accidents.


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Facts of Law about what causes car accidents

Facts of Law - Causes of Car Accidents