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Forbes recently wrote an article in which Houston is highlighted as one of the top 10 cities you are most likely to get in an accident. After reading this, we decided to look into the reasons why this may be. As a personal injury lawyer who focuses on auto accidents in Houston, it’s essential for me to understand the factors that contribute to our city’s high accident rate. Notably, Dallas also appears on this list as well, raising further questions about the commonalities between these major Texas cities and auto accidents.

By analyzing data provided by the Texas Department of Transportation and examining various studies, we’ve identified the top five contributing factors to car crashes across Texas in 2023. Each of these factors played a role in the high incidence of accidents. Understanding them is the first step towards prevention.

In this article, I will explain what each of these factors means in practical terms, and how they impact drivers daily. By being informed and proactive, we can work together to reduce the number of automobile accidents and make our roads safer for everyone.

Top 5 Automobile Accident Contributing Factors in Texas for 2023

Understanding the leading causes of car crashes in Texas is crucial for every driver. These factors not only explain why cities like Houston and Dallas have high accident rates, but also highlight the common behaviors and conditions that lead to these incidents.

By examining the top causes, we can gain insights into the most prevalent dangers on our roads and take steps to mitigate them. In the following sections, I will break down the five main contributors to motor vehicle accidents in Texas, explaining their impact and offering practical advice on how to avoid them.

top-causes-of-car-accidents-in-texas-graph1. Failure to Control Speed

Failure to control speed is reported as the number one cause of car accidents in Texas in 2023. This indicates the driver couldn’t maintain control of their vehicle’s speed due to factors like aggressive driving, sudden braking for unrelated reasons, or external influences (like weather and slippery roads). It emphasizes a lack of control over speed, even if the driver wasn’t necessarily exceeding the speed limit.

This behavior reduces a driver’s ability to react to sudden changes or obstacles, leading to accidents like rear-end collisions and loss of control. To avoid this, drivers should adhere to speed limits and adjust their speed according to road and traffic conditions, staying alert and responsive at all times.

2. Driver Inattention

Driver inattention, also known as distracted driving, is number two on the list. It occurs when drivers are distracted by activities such as texting, eating, or adjusting the radio, which takes their focus off the road. Even a momentary lapse in attention can lead to severe accidents, such as rear-end collisions or veering off the road.

Drivers should minimize distractions, stay focused on driving, and be aware of their surroundings at all times. By maintaining attention, drivers can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.

3. Failure to Yield Right-Of-Way

Failure to yield the right-of-way is a major cause of accidents in Texas. This occurs when drivers do not give way to other vehicles with the right-of-way, leading to collisions. Here are two common scenarios:

  • Turning Left: Accidents often happen when drivers turn left at intersections without waiting for oncoming traffic to pass. This can lead to dangerous collisions with vehicles that have the right-of-way. To avoid this, always wait for a clear gap in traffic before making a left turn and double check that there is no more oncoming traffic.
  • Stop Sign: Failing to come to a complete stop at stop signs or not yielding to other vehicles already in the intersection can cause severe accidents. Ensure you fully stop and check for other vehicles and pedestrians before proceeding.

Understanding and respecting right-of-way rules are crucial for preventing these types of accidents and ensuring road safety.

4. Changing Lanes When Unsafe

Changing lanes when unsafe is a common cause of car accidents in Texas. This happens when drivers switch lanes without properly checking their blind spots or signaling, leading to collisions with other vehicles. Abruptly changing lanes in heavy traffic can easily result in an accident.

To change lanes safely, drivers should always use their turn signals, check mirrors and blind spots, and ensure there is enough space before changing lanes. Safe lane-changing practices are essential for preventing accidents and ensuring smooth traffic flow.

5. Failure to Drive in a Single Lane

Failure to drive in a single lane is another significant cause of car accidents in Texas. This occurs when drivers drift out of their lane due to distraction, drowsiness, or impaired driving. Such behavior can lead to sideswipes, head-on collisions, and other serious accidents. Notably, this is also the most dangerous type of accident in terms of the fatal crash rate. This type of accident results in 2-8x more fatalities than the other four on this list.

To prevent this, drivers should stay focused, avoid distractions, and ensure they are well-rested and sober before getting behind the wheel. Maintaining lane discipline is crucial for road safety and preventing accidents.

Other notable crash contributing factors in Texas include:
  • Disregarding stop and go signals/lights;
  • Following too closely;
  • Driving under the influence;
  • Faulty evasive action (referring to incorrect or inappropriate maneuvers made by a driver to avoid a potential collision. These actions can include sudden swerving, overcorrecting, or braking too hard or too late).

Many of these factors may fall under the umbrella of aggressive, inattentive, impaired driving, and more. However, it’s important to understand exact causes to be wary not only of how other people drive, but your own driving as well.

Houston’s High Accident Rate

While accidents appear to be trending down so far in 2024, we are only halfway through the year. Data from 2022 shows that the number 1 cause of death for people under 40 in Texas was traffic accidents. Additionally, despite a national decrease in overall driving during the pandemic, Texas experienced a startling 24 percent spike in traffic fatalities the same year.

Also important to note, traffic accidents tend to happen more in the summer months. As we head into summer we should all take extra precautions to avoid falling into the driving behaviors mentioned above.

What To Do If You’re in an Accident

If you find yourself in a car accident, it’s crucial to stay calm and take specific steps to ensure your safety and protect your rights:

  • Check for Injuries: Call 911 if anyone is hurt.
  • Move to Safety: If possible, move to a safe location but do not leave the scene.
  • Exchange Information: Share names, contact details, and insurance information with the other driver.
  • Document the Scene: Take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any injuries.
  • Collect Witness Information: Get contact details from witnesses and make notes about the conditions and events leading up to the accident.
  • Report the Accident: Notify your insurance company about the accident.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, get a medical check-up as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Many of these steps will help you build a case in the incidence of the other party’s negligence. However, contacting a personal injury attorney who focuses on auto accidents can ensure maximum compensation and that you are not taken advantage of in the courts or when negotiating with insurance companies.

How an Attorney Can Help

After an accident, a personal injury attorney can provide invaluable assistance. They can help you understand your rights and navigate the complexities of insurance claims and legal procedures. An experienced attorney can gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a stronger case to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, damages, and other losses.

They can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring that you are not taken advantage of or pressured into accepting a low settlement. If necessary, an attorney can represent you in court to pursue the compensation you deserve. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side can provide peace of mind and significantly improve the outcome of your case.

This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.
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