10 Leading Causes of Car Accidents in California

Each year, thousands of car accidents are recorded all over the United States. The number has decreased over the years, but tens of thousands of car crashes are registered in California yearly.  In 2017, the California Highway Patrol recorded 193,564 crashes and 3,582 fatalities.

While not every car accident can be avoided, you can certainly lessen your chances by knowing the most common reasons for car crashes. Many accidents in California result from reckless or negligent behavior, such as driving while impaired, speeding, and distracted driving.

Driving While Impaired

Driving while impaired with drugs and/or alcohol isn’t the leading cause of collisions, but it is the deadliest. Motorists under the influence of alcohol or drugs have slowed reaction times. This is true even with some prescription medications. If you are unsure whether you have reached the legal limit under California’s laws, it’s best to play it safe and allow someone else to drive.

Distracted Driving

The exact number of distracted driving accidents is unknown in California; however, it is a leading cause of car crashes. Distracted driving can range from texting or talking on the phone to more innocent conduct, like eating, reaching over for an object, talking to other passengers in the vehicle, and even smoking.


You may be tempted to accelerate speed when pressed for time, but speeding is the third leading cause of car accidents. Speeding increases the chance of collision because drivers have less reaction time to respond.  Speed-related crashes are also more likely to have catastrophic outcomes, given the large amount of energy that must be released during the crash.


Car accidents often happen when it rains. That’s because driving on wet roads can create slick and dangerous conditions. Rain also lessens visibility, making it more likely for a collision.

Driving at Night

Road visibility becomes more difficult once it’s dark outside. As a driver, you may not be able to see signs or a person crossing the road. It’s essential to be even more alert if you’re driving at night and use high beams if you’re on a desolate road with no streetlights.

Running Through Yellow or Red Lights

Blowing through a red light or speeding through a yellow one is extremely dangerous. Often, these types of accidents cause a side-impact collision at higher speeds, making them deadly.

Running Stop Signs

Each year, thousands of car crashes occur when a driver fails to stop at a stop sign.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving, such as speeding, excessive lane changes, and other aggressive driving behavior, can cause serious accidents. It is also a traffic violation. You risk being held responsible in large part for causing an accident while violating traffic laws.


Following another car too closely is tailgating. When the motorist ahead of you in the lane of traffic stops abruptly, you risk slamming into their vehicle because you have restricted your reaction time to any sudden changes by reducing your proximity.

Unsafe Lane Changes

When drivers don’t properly check their mirrors, especially their blind spots, they may collide with another motorist.

When an accident occurs due to negligent behavior, legal recourse may be available to victims or their surviving family members. Our car accident attorneys at the Dan Rose Law firm can help.