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The Top Causes of Car Accidents in Florida and How To Avoid Them

Car Accidents

Car accidents in Florida are more common than in other states. Our warm weather and reputation as a tourist destination result in high levels of traffic from residents and out-of-state visitors. Statistics for 2023 show that Florida ranked among the top states for car accidents, following closely behind California and Texas. Contributory factors include congested highways, high traffic volume and poor driving habits. Through August 2023, statistics show that there were 239,810 total car crashes in Florida, which included 1,886 fatalities.  

The following Florida counties had the largest number of deaths in 2022 from motor vehicle accidents: 

  • Broward County 
  • Miami-Dade County 
  • Hillsborough County 
  • Palm Beach County 
  • Orange County 
  • Lee County 

Fatalities and injuries from car accidents cause immeasurable suffering among victims, their families and the community. A Florida car accident attorney can help you understand if you have a case. Read on to learn more about the major causes of car accidents and what you can do to prevent them.

The Top Causes of Car Accidents

Vehicle accidents occur for various reasons, often resulting from a combination of factors related to driver behavior, road conditions, vehicle malfunctions, and external factors. Understanding the major causes of vehicle accidents is crucial for implementing effective strategies to prevent collisions and improve road safety. The 10 major causes of car accidents in Florida include the following:

  • Distracted Driving – Distracted driving occurs when a driver is not paying full attention to the road. It includes texting, setting GPS directions, and eating or drinking behind the wheel. Even talking with a passenger in the car may be considered distracted driving, depending on the circumstances.
  • Fatigued Driving – Fatigued driving is a major cause of accidents on the road. In many cases, it’s the result of driving long distances and failing to take a break and refresh. It may also be the result of lack of sleep, working long hours, or extreme physical or mental exertion. 
  • Impaired Driving – Impaired driving is driving while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medications, over-the-counter sleep aids, or other substances that cause the driver to not be at peak driving capability.
  • Reckless Driving – Reckless driving includes a number of unsafe maneuvers, including speeding, tailgating, weaving through traffic, merging without looking or properly signaling, or weaving in and out of traffic lanes. Some of these reckless driving maneuvers are described in more detail in the list below.
  • Drowsy Driving – Driving while fatigued or drowsy can impair concentration, slow reaction times, and increase the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving is particularly common among commercial truck drivers, shift workers, and individuals with untreated sleep disorders. Fatigue-related accidents tend to occur during late-night hours or long-distance trips.
  • Speeding – Exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for road and weather conditions significantly increases the risk of accidents. Speeding reduces the driver’s ability to react to hazards, increases stopping distances, and amplifies the severity of collisions. It is a prevalent factor in many accidents, particularly those involving loss of control or rear-end collisions.
  • Poor Weather Conditions – Florida is known for its unpredictable weather, which can lead to hazardous driving conditions. To avoid weather-related accidents, slow down and increase your following distance in rainy or foggy conditions. Also, be aware of potential hazards such as standing water or fallen debris.
  • Dangerous Road Conditions – Dangerous road conditions may include roads that are poorly engineered or constructed, as well as roads that, while properly engineered, are not well maintained. Poor design, construction and maintenance may result in potholes, low shoulders, inadequate merging, and other issues that cause a driver to lose control. 
  • Running Red Lights – Running red lights is a common cause of car accidents in Florida, often resulting in T-bone collisions. To avoid running red lights, always obey traffic signals and come to a complete stop at intersections.
  • Tailgating – Tailgating, or following another vehicle too closely, is a leading cause of rear-end accidents in Florida. To avoid tailgating accidents, maintain a safe following distance and be aware of the vehicles around you. The “three-second interval” discussed below is a rule worth knowing and following to avoid tailgating collisions.
  • Failure to Yield – Failure to yield, such as not giving the right of way or merging without signaling, can lead to accidents. To avoid failure-to-yield accidents, always yield to oncoming traffic and use your turn signals when merging or changing lanes.
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Laws – Violations of traffic laws, such as running red lights, stop signs, or yield signs, failing to yield the right-of-way, improper lane changes, and illegal turns, contribute to many accidents on the road. Ignoring traffic signals and signs disrupts the flow of traffic and increases the risk of collisions at intersections and merging points.
  • Road Design and Infrastructure Issues – Poorly designed roads, inadequate signage, lack of lighting, uneven road surfaces, and inadequate traffic control measures can create hazardous conditions for drivers and increase the risk of accidents. Infrastructure deficiencies such as narrow lanes, sharp curves, and limited visibility areas contribute to accidents, especially in high-traffic areas or construction zones.
  • Inexperienced Drivers – Inexperienced drivers, such as teenagers or new drivers, are more likely to be involved in accidents in Florida. To avoid accidents involving inexperienced drivers, always practice defensive driving and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Failing to Use Seatbelts – Failing to wear seatbelts significantly increases the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash. Seat belts save lives by preventing occupants from being ejected from the vehicle and reducing the severity of injuries sustained in accidents.
  • Vehicle Defects and Malfunctions – Mechanical failures, defects, or malfunctions in vehicles can contribute to accidents, particularly if they affect essential components such as brakes, tires, steering, or suspension systems. Poor maintenance, improper repairs, and manufacturing defects can compromise the safety and reliability of vehicles on the road.

How to Avoid Car Accidents 

There are a number of common-sense steps that you can take to avoid car accidents. First, make sure that your car is well-maintained. Keep up with the car manufacturer’s recommendations about when to change your oil and other liquids, and rotate and/or replace your car’s tires as suggested by the manufacturer or your mechanic. Keep your windshield clean of debris, and replace cracked windshields promptly. A well-maintained car is less likely to be in a car accident in the first place. In addition, follow these steps:

  • Slow down and drive to weather conditions – Always drive within the speed limit. If there are weather conditions negatively impacting your drive, such as rain, or sun glare, slow down below the speed limit. Adjust your driving behavior to match road conditions, avoid sudden maneuvers and be extra vigilant for hazards on the road.
  • Stay focused and alert – Maintaining focus and alertness while driving is paramount for accident prevention. Avoid distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or engaging in other activities that divert your attention away from the road. Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind focused on driving at all times.
  • Be a “Friendly Driver” – Yield to other drivers and be courteous. Road rage frequently is a contributing factor in car accidents. Aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and excessive speeding significantly increase the risk of accidents. Practice patience, courtesy, and respect for other road users, and avoid engaging in confrontational or aggressive behavior behind the wheel.
  • Maintain a safe following distance – Increasing the distance between your car and the car ahead of you gives you time to recognize a hazard and react appropriately. The National Safety Council recommends the “three-second interval.” When following a vehicle, pick an overhead road sign, a tree or other roadside marker, and make a mental note when the vehicle in front of you passes that marker. Then, count how many seconds it takes for you to pass the same spot. If it is not at least three seconds, leave more space and increase your following distance.
  • Look both ways before you enter an intersection.
  • Signal every turn and lane change. Do this even if you think you’re the only one on the road, as someone may be in your blind stop. 
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs. Adhering to traffic laws and regulations is fundamental for preventing accidents. Follow posted speed limits, stop at red lights and stop signs, yield to pedestrians and other vehicles when necessary, and use turn signals to indicate lane changes and turns. Traffic laws are in place to ensure the safety of all road users, and compliance is essential.
  • Ensure Proper Vehicle Maintenance – Regular maintenance and inspections are essential for ensuring that your vehicle is in optimal condition and free from mechanical defects that could contribute to accidents. Schedule routine maintenance checks, oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections to keep your vehicle in safe working order.
  • Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking or partaking of other illegal substances. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction time, increasing the likelihood of accidents. If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver, use public transportation, or arrange for a ride-sharing service to get home safely. Never get behind the wheel if you are impaired.
  • Stay updated and educated – Stay informed about changes in traffic laws, regulations, and safety guidelines to ensure that you are driving responsibly and legally. Consider taking defensive driving courses or refresher courses to brush up on your skills and stay updated on best practices for safe driving.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney at Searcy Today

Car accidents can cause profound suffering among victims and their families and can be extremely disruptive to lives. In some cases, things will never be the same, particularly if fatalities or permanent injuries result. At Searcy Denney, we are committed to helping you receive the compensation to which you are entitled if you are a victim of a car accident. Such compensation can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other compensation. 

We have decades of experience in handling car accidents and personal injury cases and can help you put your life back together. We have the financial resources to withstand a long trial if necessary. Contact a Florida car accident attorney today at 800-780-8607.

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