A motor vehicle accident can affect you directly by causing debilitating injuries or indirectly by inflicting the pain of losing a loved one. Frequently, another consequence of a serious car accident is frustration. While some collisions result from uncontrollable factors, most result from human error or willful behavior on the part of a driver.

Four out of five of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents are completely avoidable if drivers would take responsibility for their own actions. You may not be able to control the behavior of others, but you can avoid the following behaviors in your own driving and keep a close watch for them in those around you.

Reckless driving

Reckless driving is a broad category generally including acts performed with a willful disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others. Examples of reckless driving include unexpected lane changes, illegal U-turns, spontaneous racing and abrupt acceleration.


Speeding can be a form of reckless driving, or it can be the result of carelessness or inattention. Regardless of the reason, excess speed reduces the amount of control you have over your vehicle. This makes it more difficult to avoid an accident when faced with an unexpected situation.

Driving under the influence

You may think that driving under the influence specifically implies alcohol use. However, there are many different substances that can impair driving ability. For example, you may be very conscientious about never getting behind the wheel when you have had too much to drink, but you might not check the labels of your prescription medications to see if they cause drowsiness. Illicit drugs can also impair driving ability.

Distracted driving

As long as there have been cars, there have been driving distractions. Nevertheless, the advent of smartphones and similar technological devices, including in-vehicle gadgets, have introduced a host of new distractions that previous generations of drivers did not have to contend with.