In California, there are more than 450,000 traffic accidents every year. Every accident is the result of different circumstances, but what are the most common causes of car crashes? Here is a quick overview.

Drunk driving

Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs are a significant danger on California roads. Most people know that alcohol slows their reaction time. And they understand that it is against the law to drive while impaired.

However, it is still one of the most common causes of traffic crashes. It is also one of the leading causes of fatalities in traffic accidents.

Traffic violations

When people disregard the rules of the road, the chances of an accident increase. Common traffic violations that lead to accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Running red lights
  • Making illegal turns

Even safe drivers occasionally disobey traffic laws. However, it is the frequency of these traffic violations that generally causes so many accidents.


Sometimes, it is not other drivers who are responsible for a crash. Bad weather conditions can reduce visibility and traction on the roads. However, accidents usually result from reckless drivers not adjusting to the weather conditions.

Distracted driving

The number one cause of traffic accidents nationwide is distracted driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 1,000 people suffer injuries because of distracted driving every day.

Many states, including California, have passed laws against texting while driving in hopes of reducing distractions behind the wheel. However, there are various other kinds of distractions, including:

  • Talking with passengers
  • Changing the radio station
  • Looking at a GPS

Anything that pulls a driver’s attention away from the road poses a severe risk to others. Law enforcement is working to combat these distractions to reduce the high rate of accidents. However, distracted driving is currently the most notable threat to other drivers on the road.