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Some Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents

What Are the Most Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents?

Motor vehicle accidents are responsible for more than 2 million injuries throughout the United States every year. While some of these accidents are unavoidable, our Allentown personal injury attorneys know from experience that many are caused by preventable errors on the part of drivers. Knowing what some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents are can help to reduce your risk of being involved in one.

Distracted Driving

Distractions can come in many forms, including cellphone use, eating and drinking, and even conversations with passengers. All it takes is a few seconds of distraction for a driver to miss a critical road sign, fail to observe a traffic light, or be too slow to react when cars around them are braking, resulting in an accident. And while states are taking greater measures to pass laws against distracted driving, the risk continues to rise as handheld technology becomes more pervasive in our lives.

Drowsy Driving

Studies have shown that losing even a few hours of sleep can slow a driver's reaction time and impair their judgment in the same way as drinking alcohol. Drowsy or fatigued drivers are also at risk of falling asleep at the wheel, which can have catastrophic consequences. This contributing factor is particularly common among commercial truck drivers who may be driving for long periods of time.


Alcohol and drugs can significantly impair a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. These substances can distort a driver's vision, slow their reaction time, and limit their coordination. And not all cases of intoxicated driving involve drinking too much or taking illegal drugs — even prescription and over-the-counter drugs can have a negative effect on one's driving ability if taken in high enough doses.


Exceeding the posted speed limit is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Even if a driver has not exceeded the speed limit by much, any increase in speed can reduce the time available to react to changes on the road and can also lead to more serious injuries if an accident does occur.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving can encompass a number of behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving between lanes, making unsafe lane changes, and running red lights and stop signs. Such behaviors can greatly increase the risk of an accident occurring as they give other drivers less time to react and put them in potentially hazardous situations. Some aggressive drivers even intend to cause harm to other drivers, making them an especially dangerous group on the roads.

Inadequate Maintenance

Driving a vehicle that is not in good working condition can significantly increase a person's risk of getting into an accident. If brakes and tires are not properly maintained, for example, they can quickly become worn and may fail when a driver needs to brake or take a corner. Other problems, such as broken lights, faulty steering, and worn windshields can also lead to accidents if not addressed.

Weather Conditions

Inclement weather can affect a driver's visibility and their ability to safely control their vehicle. Rain, snow, hail, and ice can all reduce the friction between a vehicle's tires and the road, making it more difficult to maintain control when going around corners or braking. Drivers should take extra care when driving in poor weather conditions and should also be aware of the increased risk posed by other drivers who may not be taking such precautions. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are an all-too common occurrence in Pennsylvania, and the negligence of others is often the cause behind them. If you've been injured in one, it's important to contact an Allentown personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights. Contact Metzger & Kleiner at 215-567-6616 to explore your legal options with our team.

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