From fender-benders to fatal collisions, car accidents are, unfortunately, common across the United States, and Maryland is no exception.
According to data, there are, on average, more than 110,000 car accidents in Maryland annually, resulting in over 500 fatalities and more than 30,000 injuries.
Most of these accidents are preventable, and Maryland drivers can ensure their safety and the safety of others by identifying and understanding the most common causes of car accidents.
In this blog post, the Maryland car accident attorneys at Hoffman, Comfort, Offutt, Scott & Halstad, LLP explore the ten most common causes of car accidents in Maryland so that you can be better prepared before you take to the road.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Maryland and throughout the country.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,500 people died in 2021 alone in car accidents caused by distracted driving.
Distracted driving can include texting, eating, adjusting the radio, or any other activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road.
To avoid distracted driving, drivers should put their phones away, avoid eating or drinking while driving, and adjust the radio or GPS before driving.
Speeding is another leading cause of car accidents.
When drivers exceed the posted speed limit, they have less time to react to changing road conditions and are more likely to lose control of their vehicles.
Therefore, to prevent accidents due to speeding, drivers should always obey posted speed limits and adjust their driving to the road and weather conditions.
3. Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious criminal offense in Maryland. It is also a significant cause of car accidents.
In addition to causing impaired judgment and slowed reaction times, drunk driving can lead to loss of control of the vehicle, resulting in serious injury or death.
In fact, over the past five years, nearly 800 people have been killed in crashes involving an impaired driver on Maryland’s roads, representing roughly a third of all roadway fatalities.
To prevent accidents caused by drunk driving, drivers should always arrange for a designated driver or alternative transportation if they plan to consume alcohol.
4. Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving is another common cause of car accidents in Maryland.
Aggressive driving takes many forms. It can include tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and failing to yield to other drivers.
To prevent accidents caused by aggressive driving, drivers should always be patient, courteous, and respectful to other drivers on the road.
5. Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is also a leading cause of car accidents in Maryland, especially among truck drivers and those who travel long distances.
Fatigue can impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time, making it difficult to avoid car accidents.
To prevent driver fatigue accidents, drivers should get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel and take breaks every two hours or 100 miles when driving long distances.
6. Hazardous Weather Conditions
Maryland experiences a wide range of weather conditions throughout the year, including heavy rain, snow, and ice.
These weather conditions can make it difficult to maintain vehicle control, resulting in accidents.
To prevent accidents due to poor weather conditions, drivers should adjust their driving to the weather and slow down where necessary.
7. Poor Road Conditions
Some Maryland roads are infamous for having potholes and uneven surfaces, which can cause car accidents.
Poor road conditions can cause a vehicle to lose control, resulting in serious injury or death.
While drivers cannot control the condition of the roads they drive on, they can prevent accidents by always remaining aware of their surroundings and reporting dangerous road conditions to the proper authorities.
8. Mechanical Failures
Mechanical failures, such as brake failures and tire blowouts, are not uncommon.
To avoid accidents due to mechanical failures, drivers should always maintain their vehicle’s brakes, tires, and other systems and have their car inspected regularly by a qualified mechanic.
9. Improper Lane Changes
When you change lanes and fail to check blind spots or properly signal, you increase your accident risk.
To prevent accidents due to improper lane changes, drivers should always use their signals, check their blind spots, and avoid abruptly changing lanes.
10. Inexperienced Drivers
Inexperienced drivers, such as newly licensed teenagers or elderly drivers, can also cause car accidents due to a lack of experience and familiarity with vehicle and traffic laws.
Inexperienced drivers should take a driver’s education course and practice driving with a licensed adult before driving alone.
They should also be aware of their limitations and avoid driving in adverse weather or traffic conditions until they gain more experience.
How a Maryland Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
There are a variety of causes of car accidents. However, by being aware and taking steps to prevent them, drivers can help reduce the number of accidents on Maryland roads and keep themselves and others safe.
At the law firm of Hoffman, Comfort, Offutt, Scott & Halstad, LLP, our expert team of personal injury attorneys understands the dangers on the road and the complexities of Maryland law.
Accidents are sometimes unavoidable, even if you carefully follow traffic laws, be aware of your surroundings, and drive defensively.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Carroll County or anywhere else in the state, contact the Maryland car accident experts at Hoffman, Comfort, Offutt, Scott & Halstad, LLP by filling out our online contact form or calling us today.