What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in San Diego?

San Diego Car Accidents Attorney

Traffic collisions are common occurrences. A vehicle accident with injuries or deaths is reported on average about every 3 minutes, according to statistics collected by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). In 2014 alone, there were more than 165,000 motor vehicle crashes. There are many possible causes of car accidents in San Diego.

Causes of Car Accidents in San Diego

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, DOT. They keep track of reported accidents across the country. The NHTSA published traffic safety facts, a summary of critical reasons for crashes that were investigated as part of a crash causation survey. The critical reasons for car accidents in San Diego and elsewhere are categorized into three areas including:

  • Driver-Related
  • Vehicle-Related
  • Environmental-Related 

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Driver-Related Causes for San Diego Car Accidents

Driver-related critical reasons for car accidents in San Diego include a variety of factors. These are typically considered a human error. There are many things that drivers do or fail to do that contribute to crashes. The most common factors include:


In California, speed is the primary factor in 30% of fatal crashes. Speeding includes driving over the posted speed limit as well as driving too fast for conditions. This means that a driver could be traveling at or below the posted limit but could still be moving too quickly for current conditions. Weather conditions such as rain and fog are common conditions that could make driving more hazardous. These issues and others reduce visibility and make it more difficult to stop quickly in the event of a problem.

Following Too Closely

Following too closely behind another vehicle is also known as tailgating. Drivers that do not leave enough room between their car and the one in front might not have enough room to stop if the vehicle in front stops suddenly. Rear-end collisions are among the most common. They might happen more frequently in urban areas where there is more stop-and-go traffic. Rear-end accidents could result in serious injuries including neck and back injuries such as whiplash.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become much more prevalent in the last several years, likely due to the increased use of cell phones. California law prohibits drivers from using handheld cell phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. Texting while driving and using a GPS system are also considered forms of distraction.

Cell phone use isn’t the only form of distracted driving. Eating or drinking while driving might cause a distraction. Talking to other passengers in the car could be a distraction. Reading, putting on makeup and changing the radio station could all take your eyes off the road for a few seconds. A vehicle going 55 mph could travel the distance of a couple of football fields in just the time it takes to look at a text on a cell phone.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause serious crashes. Impaired driving can occur after just a couple of drinks and keeps drivers from being able to make good decisions while behind the wheel. In addition to the use of alcohol, drugs can also impair a person’s ability to drive. A driver is putting others in jeopardy when they drive under these conditions. In California, the legal limit is 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, BAC. Drivers with a higher BAC could be charged with DUI.

Improper Lane Usage

Changing lanes without adequate clearance may cause accidents. When drivers want to change lanes, they must first make sure that the area is clear and then signal their movement. The failure to do so could result in a crash, sometimes with multiple vehicles. Improperly merging is also a problem that occurs, particularly when entering a highway. Turning in front of another vehicle is dangerous if it involves moving across more than a lane of traffic. A driver of the vehicle that made a mistake will likely be responsible for the accident.

Mechanical Failures that Lead to Car Accidents

In addition to driving errors, mechanical malfunctions may play a role in some car accidents in San Diego. Many things can go wrong with a vehicle while it’s on the road. Brake failures are among the most common problems that can occur with vehicles. Other problems include such things as flat tires, electrical malfunctions, steering or suspension problems, headlight or taillight failure and windshield wiper problems. Of the mechanical issues reported to be contributing factors in crashes, about 35% of them were due to tire or wheel-related problems.

Environmental Factors that Contribute to Crashes

Various environmental factors may contribute to car accidents in San Diego. Some of the most common are related to weather conditions, such as rain or fog that could limit visibility or make the roads slick. Glare is another problem that makes driving more difficult. Poor road design and debris on roadways might also be an issue that leads to an accident.

Although these factors may be partly to blame for a crash, the driver is ultimately responsible for controlling his vehicle, regardless of conditions. If the roads are wet, for instance, a driver knows that they could be slick and an accident is more likely to occur. Therefore, more caution must be used when driving under adverse conditions. Of the crashes documented in the study, slick roads were a factor in about half of all those in which there was an environmental issue that contributed.

Consult with Skilled Attorneys About San Diego Car Accidents

If you were injured in a car accident, you might be entitled to compensation, even if you were partly to blame. Resolving issues regarding car accidents in San Diego can be complex and difficult. It is helpful to seek guidance from an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the crash. Your attorney will review the details of the crash and help gather information while protecting your rights. The law limits the time to file a claim, so it is essential to speak with a lawyer immediately. Contact the legal team at 1-800-Hurt Now to discuss your case today.