The 12 Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Florida
Gregg Hollander | October 20, 2023 | Car Accidents
Florida reported over 401,540 car accidents in its most recent Crash Facts Report. These traffic accidents caused over 250,000 injuries and deaths. The cost to Florida’s economy was nearly $11 billion in medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
The vast majority of these crashes were preventable. Specifically, you can trace the cause of most of them to a driving error such as speeding, failing to yield, and tailgating. By contrast, unavoidable conditions, like weather and mechanical failures, caused fewer than 4% of traffic crashes.
Common Crash Causes In Florida
Florida provides extensive traffic accident statistics in its Crash Facts Report. You can use these numbers to identify the most common causes of car accidents in the state. The most common “first harmful event” in Florida is a collision between moving vehicles. This might seem elementary, but bear in mind that the crash statistics also include:
- Single-vehicle crashes, such as rollovers and collisions with fixed objects
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
The crash causes described below exclude these types of crashes. Instead, this list focuses exclusively on the most common causes of collisions between two or more vehicles.
Speeding is one of the most common traffic violations. Nearly 90% of drivers admit to speeding at least a few times each year. According to the Crash Facts Report, Florida police officers blamed speeding for 283 deaths and 6,344 injuries or possible injuries. Speeding includes both exceeding the posted speed limit and driving too fast for the conditions.
Traffic engineers set speed limits based on the road’s design and the expected traffic levels. Weather and road conditions can reduce the safe driving speed below the speed limit. When drivers drive too fast, they risk losing control of their vehicle or not having the time to maneuver around hazardous conditions.
2. Following Too Closely
Following too closely, also called “tailgating,” can lead to rear-end collisions because the driver lacks the time and space to brake safely. Rear-end crashes can cause severe injuries like whiplash and concussions. But, these accidents rarely cause deaths. In 2021, these crashes caused 10 deaths and 16,633 injuries, according to the Crash Facts Report.
3. Failing to Yield at Intersections
Almost all intersection crashes happen when a driver fails to yield the right of way. These crashes can happen in many ways, including:
- Turning left across the path of an oncoming vehicle
- Turning right before the intersection clears
- Going out of turn at a two-way or four-way stop
- Failing to stop at an occupied crosswalk
Side-impact collisions can cause the door to collapse, crushing the vehicle’s occupants. According to the Crash Facts Report, Florida had 474 fatalities and 49,623 injuries and possible injuries in 2021 due to failures to yield.
4. Distracted Driving
Distractions can include any activity that takes your mind, eyes, or hands away from driving. Although smartphones get most of the blame, distractions can result from many tasks, including:
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the audio system
- Talking to passengers
- Looking at other accidents
Distractions can lead to other violations like speeding, tailgating, and running stop lights. Florida’s Crash Facts Report blamed distractions for 192 deaths and 33,987 injuries and possible injuries.
5. Turning Unsafely
Unsafe turns are like failures to yield the right of way, but they happen in other places besides intersections, such as:
- Parking lots and garages
- Turning lanes on highways and roads away from intersections
These crashes can happen when drivers misjudge the speed or distance of an approaching vehicle. They may also occur when drivers turn without seeing where they are headed or what is approaching. Unsafe turns caused nearly 60 deaths and over 5,200 injuries and possible injuries.
6. Improper Passing
Unsafe lane changes almost always happen when drivers fail to check their blind spots. An unsafe lane change can cause sideswipe collisions. These collisions cause property damage but rarely cause fatal injuries. According to the Crash Facts Report, only 17% of lane change crashes caused injury or death.
7. Disobeying Traffic Lights and Signs
Running red lights and stop signs leads to collisions because it disrupts other drivers’ expectations. When a driver has the right of way, they do not expect another vehicle in an intersection and can slam into it at high speed. According to the 2021 Crash Facts Report, Florida had 170 fatalities and 19,216 injuries and possible injuries attributed to running red lights and stop signs.
8. Drifting From the Lane
Lane drift can happen for many reasons, including:
- Poor visibility
- Poor directional control
- Medical event
Seniors and young drivers are particularly prone to lane drift. Young drivers lack experience, and senior drivers may have physical limitations preventing them from safely controlling their vehicles. In 2021, 195 people died, and 3,615 suffered possible injuries when they drifted out of their lanes.
9. Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving is not necessarily the same as road rage. Florida law defines aggressive careless driving as committing two or more violations simultaneously or in succession.
The violations listed in the aggressive careless driving law include the following:
- Changing lanes unsafely
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Passing lanes improperly
- Running red lights or stop signs
These violations increase the risk of losing control of your vehicle. Aggressive, careless driving was blamed for 127 deaths and 1,964 injuries and possible injuries.
10. Backing Unsafely
After finishing driver’s ed class, most drivers get lazy when driving in reverse. Rather than looking over their shoulder, they back up using solely their mirrors. Unfortunately, this behavior caused 12 deaths and 2,182 injuries.
11. Emergency Maneuvering
Sometimes, a vehicle gets into a crash while maneuvering to avoid a crash. For example, you might swerve to miss hitting a deer in the road and collide with a light pole. You might also overcorrect and roll your vehicle over.
12. Intoxicated Driving
Intoxicated driving can result from any type of intoxicant, including alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs. These substances can impair your judgment and dull your reflexes. Intoxicated drivers killed 1,210 people and injured 3,819 people.
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer if Another Driver Caused Your Crash
The cause of a crash will determine whether you have an injury claim and who will bear the liability for your injuries. Speak with a lawyer to discuss your crash and learn how you can pursue compensation for your injuries. Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers offers free consultations.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401