California is one of the most heavily populated states in the country, meaning there are more drivers in California than in most other states. As a result, each year, thousands of people experience car accidents in California. Examining the number of accidents and the most common causes of these accidents is a good way for residents to understand the risks of driving and determine the best ways to limit their own risk of experiencing car accidents.
Each year, tens of thousands of car accidents happen in California, resulting in deaths and injuries. While injuries are far more common than fatalities, it’s vital for all California drivers to know the fatal accident rate and do their best to avoid causing accidents. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other sources have reported the following fatal accident rates for California over the past several years:
- In 2017, 3,884 people died in car accidents in California.
- In 2018, fatalities from car accidents in California dropped to 3,563.
- In 2019, 3,606 people died in car accidents in California.
- In 2020, fatalities from car accidents increased in California to 3,723.
These figures indicate that there is roughly one fatality from an accident for every 100,000 vehicle miles driven in California. Therefore, all drivers in California must keep this in mind and drive safely to mitigate the risk of experiencing an accident.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in California
Car accidents happen for many reasons, but available accident data indicate that some behaviors are more likely to cause serious accidents than others. The leading causes of car accidents in California include:
- Distracted driving. This is the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents throughout the US, and even a few seconds of distraction is capable of causing severe or fatal injuries to others. Therefore, all drivers must refrain from cell phone use behind the wheel and do their best to avoid other distractions, such as eating while driving or cognitive distractions.
- Speeding and moving violations. Exceeding the posted speed limit is not only illegal but dangerous. Speed limits exist to maintain a safe traffic flow and ensure that drivers can maneuver appropriately for road conditions. Speeding makes it difficult for a driver to slow down or stop in time to avoid a collision with another vehicle.
- Driving under the influence (DUI). It is illegal and extremely dangerous for any driver to operate their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any driver who causes an accident because of a DUI will be criminally prosecuted, leading to fines, jail time, driver’s license suspension, and other penalties. They will also be liable for any victim’s civil damages.
- Poor visibility. Driving at night or during bad weather is inherently dangerous. Therefore, all drivers should use extra caution when road conditions are less than ideal and always engage their vehicle lights at night or during severe weather. This will make it easier for other drivers to notice them and avoid accidents.
These are only a few of the ways car accidents can happen in California. If you want to prevent yourself from becoming an accident statistic, it’s vital to keep a few valuable tips in mind.
How to Limit Your Risk of a Car Accident
Drivers can reduce the chance of experiencing a car accident by keeping a few criticalcaveats in mind:
- Drive defensively. Defensive driving means adhering to traffic signs, following posted speed limits, and keeping to the right lane where applicable to allow faster-moving traffic to pass. Driving defensively also means refraining from reckless maneuvers and avoiding engagement with nearby hostile drivers.
- Avoid distractions. All drivers should pay close attention to the road when operating their vehicles. This means refraining from cell phone use and other actions that take your eyes off the road or your hands off your vehicle’s controls. California has implemented a cell phone ban for drivers, so it is only legal to use a cell phone while driving with a hands-free attachment.
- Address vehicle maintenance issues promptly. If you notice any performance issues with your vehicle or your dashboard lights indicate there is an issue with your engine, arrange for an inspection and service as soon as possible. Unchecked mechanical problems can easily cause accidents.
- Refrain from drinking and driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous and illegal. Impaired drivers have reduced reaction speed, diminished spatial awareness and are generally more likely to cause high-speed crashes. In addition,a DUI leads to civil liability for victims’ damages and criminal prosecution in California.
These tips can hopefully help you limit your risk of experiencing a car accident in California. However, no matter how careful you are or how closely you pay attention to the road, there is no way to anticipate what any other driver might do at any given time. Therefore, if you experience a car accident, it’s essential to know the value of legal representation if you intend to secure compensation for your losses and hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions.
How Can a Lawyer Help After a Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries and economic losses due to another driver’s negligence, the right attorney can make a tremendous impact on your recovery. Your first step toward recovery after a car accident in California is typically insurance. Dealing with insurance companies is typically complex, and your attorney can handle correspondence with claim adjusters on your behalf. If insurance is not enough to fully cover your losses from an accident, your attorney can help you file a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for causing your accident.
Many people make the mistake of believing they can handle their legal affairs on their own following car accidents. However, meeting the procedural requirements of your case while also recovering from painful injuries is more complicated than most people expect. An experienced car accident attorney can handle your legal affairs, so you and your loved ones can focus on your recovery in peace. The attorneys at Easton & Easton can provide the comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel you need after a car accident in California. Contact us today to schedule a case evaluation and learn how our team can assist in your recovery.