Motor Vehicle Accidents Information Center

10 of the Most Common Causes of NJ Motor Vehicle Accidents

They may be called accidents, but not all motor vehicle collisions are truly accidental.  There are many circumstances that can cause a motor vehicle accident (and countless more excuses!).  If you've been in a motor vehicle accident (MVA), don't assume for a moment that the insurance carrier will act in your best interests, even if the other driver is 100% at fault. More on that later.

A driver who caused a motor vehicle accident may have been negligent, aggressive, inattentive, distracted, reckless and/or drunk.  Determining how the accident occurred and who was primarily at fault is often complicated by such factors as who acted when and what laws (a/k/a Rules of the Road), if any, were applicable to the situation.  If the other driver was negligent, you will have to prove that person breached a duty of care owed to you, that the breach caused the accident/your injuries and that you were, in fact, injured

Here are ten of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States resulting in injury personal and death (in no particular order except the first one):

  1. Distracted Driving.  Contrary to what you might think, drunk driving, speeding, blowing a red light or even teenage drivers are not the number one cause of MVAs on American roadways.  Distracted drivers are.  Examples of distractions include:  cell phone use (texting or talking); "Rubber-necking" at other accidents; fatigue; playing with the audio system; passengers (does "don't make me turn this car around" sound familiar?); scenery; reading (no, really, some people read while they drive because, well you know, they're just superior human beings); and eating/drinking. 
  2. Weather conditions/road conditions.  Although road conditions include such things as potholes, poorly monitored highway construction zones and just bad road design, poor road conditions are frequently the result of poor weather conditions.  Inclement weather can take many forms, including heavy rain, hail, snow and ice storms, high winds and even fog.  Some of these reduce visibility, some create unsafe road conditions and some result in both.  Winter driving, for example, often involves low visibility; winter conditions create slushy or icy roads, either of which, when combined with driving too fast for conditions, can lead to automobile accidents.  Put poor visibility and poor road conditions together and your chances of avoiding an accident are also poor.
  3. Failure to stop or yield at a red light or stop sign.  Putting aside those who just completely missed the light or sign, accidents are frequently caused by someone who believes that they can just make it.... or the drivers who jump the light or seem to think they should go before anyone else - have you seen an increase in younger drivers blowing right through stop signs and red lights when they are turning right? Do they know its stop and then go (if safe!)  - not right turn any time?
  4. Failure to obey traffic laws governing turns, rights-of-way, yield, lane changes and the like. (See Number 3!) 
  5. Drunk driving.  We really don't need to say anything about this, do we?  But we will.  Many drunk driving accidents are caused by people who didn't think they were too drunk to drive.  As it turns out, they are almost always wrong, sometimes dead wrong.  If you're going to drink, don't drive.  And if you're going to drive, don't drink.  Sometimes even us lawyers have to preach. 
  6. Road rage. Almost as bad as drunk driving and often with the same tragic consequences, yet without the excuse that the driver's judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol.  Don't be that guy.  Nobody likes that guy. That guy is a danger to everyone around him. He's the guy weaving in and out of traffic at 80 miles an hour on the highway when everyone else is doing the speed limit or close to it.  Aggressive driving could be its own category but we'll include it under road rage because it's the flip side of the same coin. 
  7. Unsafe speed.  Excessive speed poses a risk not only to the speeder, of course, but to every other driver unfortunate enough to be on the same road at the same time.  However, driving too slow for traffic conditions can also cause motor vehicle accidents.  A slow driver, especially one on an expressway or major highway, can disrupt the flow of traffic which may then cause others to take evasive or abrupt action that puts them and those around them at risk. 
  8. Reckless/careless driving.  One doesn't have to be distracted to be careless or reckless.  Failing to signal or shoulder check before changing lanes is a prime example. 
  9. Teenagers.  Sorry kids, but it's true.  Even the safest young driver may lack the experience necessary to handle certain circumstances that arise while on the road.
  10. Tailgating.  This isn't really careless or reckless driving, it's just plain stupid. It deprives everyone of needed reaction time to drive safely.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by one of the above (or any other reason, for that matter), call me.  I'm a personal injury attorney experienced in motor vehicle accident claims.  I can not only explain your rights but protect them to ensure you receive just compensation for injuries you've suffered.  Remember, the insurance adjuster doesn't work for you and his/her sole job is to get you to settle as quickly as possible for as little as possible -- or even more likely, to prevent you from recovering anything whatsoever.  Failure to take prompt action based on solid legal advice may adversely impact, if not completely doom, your right to a fair recovery.  I can be reached at 888-233-1272, or by email at