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The Leading Causes of Car Crashes in California

Each year, thousands of car accidents occur on U.S. roads with populated states like California often topping the list of traffic fatalities. In 2019 alone, over 3,316 fatal crashes were reported in California according to the latest data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Whether minor or severe, accidents can significantly alter a person’s life. They can result in permanent disabilities, financial setbacks, inability to work, and emotional hardships. Most auto accidents are caused by preventable driver errors, while others may be triggered by external factors such as auto defects or poor road conditions.

We look at three of the most common causes of car crashes and how you can prevent them.

Speeding

In fatal accidents, 55% of speeding-related crashes were caused by exceeding the posted speed limit while 45% were a result of driving too fast for conditions. The faster a car travels, the longer it takes to slow down and prevent a crash.

Speed-related incidents are also likelier to have devastating outcomes, due to the large amount of impact and energy released. As such, motorists must be constantly aware of their speed and stay within the legal limits.

In California, the maximum speed limit on most highways is 65 mph and 55 mph on two-lane undivided highways unless otherwise indicated. In alleys, blind intersections, and railroad crossings, speed limit lies at 15 mph and at 25 mph in residential and business districts, senior citizen facilities, and school zones.

Impaired driving

Every day in the U.S., about 28 people, or one person every 52 minutes, die in drunk-driving crashes. Alcohol alters the function of the brain and reduces one’s reasoning abilities and muscle coordination.

Law enforcers use a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test to measure a driver’s level of intoxication. A blood alcohol content (BAC) that is 0.08% or higher means you’re legally impaired and can be arrested for drunk driving.

Similarly, driving under the influence of drugs can also result in DUI charges. Under California law, such drugs include illegal substances (such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine), legal drugs (marijuana and prescription medications), and over-the-counter medications (including antihistamines and cold medicines).

Under California Vehicle Code 23152(g), combining drugs and alcohol is just as illegal and can also result in a DUI offense.

Adverse weather conditions

According to the Department of Transportation, approximately 21% of road crashes are weather-related. Rain, snow, fog, and sleet can drastically change road conditions by reducing traction and visibility.

In case of severe weather, the simplest solution is to pull over and wait for drier and clearer conditions. If stopping isn’t an option, raise your alertness levels and take extra preventive measures. Maintain low speeds, avoid tailgating, turn on your fog or headlights, and use your turn signals early.

Contact a California car crash attorney

If you were injured in an auto accident caused by another person’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for your losses. Haffner Law can advise you of your legal options and help you navigate the claims process.

Request a free consultation now and obtain the compensation you deserve.

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