What is the number one cause of accidents in Virginia?

Every year, hundreds of Virginians are killed in auto collisions. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), car wrecks are the leading cause of death for Virginia residents under the age of thirty.

Two girls eating and drinking in the car

What are the three major causes of auto accidents in Virginia?

While car accidents are caused by a variety of circumstances, there are three factors that contribute to a large number of Virginia highway accidents and death:

  • Driver behavior
  • Vehicle safety
  • Environmental factors

Driver behavior

Highway accidents are frequently caused by drivers’ actions. There are many distractions that cause a driver to take his or her attention off the road, such as:

  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Texting
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or other equipment in the car
  • Distractions caused by passengers

18-wheeler truck driving

Driving while fatigued is another significant cause of collisions. Often professional truck drivers and other long-distance drivers suffer from sleep deprivation due to long hours of driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also a major cause of vehicle collisions resulting in injury or death.

Vehicle safety

Lack of vehicle safety is the second major cause of vehicle crashes on the road in Virginia. Wearing a seat belt and properly installing child safety seats are very important aspects of vehicle safety.  The Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia State Police, as well as local police enforcement organizations, have active programs designed to increase awareness and education about safe driving and making your vehicle safe.

Click It or Ticket” was one such successful campaign and was created to encourage drivers to wear a seat belt while driving. Throughout the state of Virginia, local programs offer free child safety seats to people who cannot afford them and also provide free inspections to ensure proper installation.

These and many other programs help reduce the severity and frequency of injuries and deaths from car crashes. In addition, delayed vehicle maintenance or repairs can contribute to collisions and injuries. Check your tires and fluid levels before you get on the road.

pothole in the road

Environmental conditions

The third major cause of vehicle crashes in Virginia is environmental conditions.  Bad weather and unforeseen road conditions increase the dangers of driving. Trying to navigate the road in the rain, snow or ice adds to the risk. In inclement weather, drivers need to:

  • Slow down
  • Allow an extra following distance
  • Avoid sudden moves

Sometimes poor vehicle maintenance and safety can combine with bad weather conditions to cause a dangerous situation.  In addition, unexpected road repairs and unrepaired roads can contribute to car wrecks and fatalities. Be prepared to slow down through work zones. If you see a dangerous pothole or other unsafe condition on a road, report it promptly to the Virginia Department of Transportation or local police department. Their Customer Service Center takes calls at any time 24 hours a day. Call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623).  If you encounter a pothole or other road problem in another city or state, call the public works department in that location.

If you know the major causes of motor vehicle collisions in Virginia, and you know how to prepare for them, then you’ll be less likely to be involved in a crash that causes injury to yourself or others.  if we change our driver behavior, we can reduce the number of car accidents and traffic fatalities on our highways.  Please help make our highways safer for us all.

If you have been injured in an auto accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Allen & Allen today for a free consultation at 866-388-1307.