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Common causes of serious auto accidents

Auto accidents can lead to devastating consequences, including injuries, fatalities and property damage. Many of these incidents share common and preventable causes, like speeding and reckless driving.

Understanding why serious auto accidents occur highlights the importance of safe driving habits.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is a leading cause of serious auto accidents. Activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating and using in-car entertainment systems divert a driver’s attention from the road. These distractions often lead to collisions, particularly at high speeds.


Excessive speeding significantly increases the likelihood of serious accidents. When drivers exceed the posted speed limits or drive too fast for road and weather conditions, they have less time to react to unexpected situations and stop their vehicles safely.

Driving under the influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs a driver’s judgment, reaction time and coordination. Impaired motorists have a higher risk of accidents. They may struggle to stay within their lanes or make poor decisions on the road.

Reckless driving

Reckless driving behaviors, such as aggressive tailgating, frequent lane changes and running red lights, contribute to serious accidents. These behaviors increase the chances of collisions, especially on highways and busy roadways.


Drowsy drivers pose a significant risk on the road. Fatigue behind the wheel can slow reaction times, impair judgment and even cause you to fall asleep behind the wheel.

Severe weather conditions

Rain, snow, fog and other forms of inclement weather can create hazardous driving conditions. Reduced visibility and slippery road surfaces often lead to accidents, especially when drivers fail to adjust speed and driving habits.

Failure to yield right of way

Failing to yield the right of way to other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists can lead to dangerous situations on the road. These incidents frequently result in crashes, particularly at intersections.

Driver inexperience

New drivers may not have the skills and judgment to navigate challenging road situations. Their lack of experience can contribute to accidents, especially in high-traffic areas.

Poor road conditions

Potholes, uneven road surfaces and inadequate signage create hazards for drivers. Accidents resulting from poor road conditions may lead to serious injuries.

Maryland had more than 28,000 auto accident injuries and 532 fatalities in 2022 according to data from the Motor Vehicle Administration. Avoiding the factors that lead to serious accidents can reduce your risk of a collision.

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