What are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Houston?

There are many common causes of car accidents, car accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. Sometimes the cause of a car crash was driver negligence, sometimes it was bad luck or circumstances that are out of everyone’s control. If you have been injured in a car accident, either due to someone else’s reckless driving or because of a third party’s negligence, then you should seek advice from a personal injury attorney as soon as you can.

McDonald Worley is a team of Houston-based car accident lawyers with decades of experience in handling car accident claims. We understand that there can be many factors that contribute to car accidents and that these factors could impact on how, and who, you claim against. If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, be sure to give us a call to schedule a free, no-obligation, confidential consultation.

Some of the most frequent causes of car accidents include:

Driving While Distracted

Inattentive driving has contributed to more than 96,000 car accidents in Texas over the course of just one year. According to reports from law enforcement officers in Harris County, there were 12,027 distracted driving accidents in that area alone. Of those, 14 were fatal, and 191 resulted in crashes that caused serious injuries.

Drivers face a lot of distractions, but cell phones are one of the biggest issues and can contribute to deadly crashes. Texting while driving is a common issue and it can increase the risk of you being involved in an accident. Texting while in control of a vehicle increases your risk of crashing by 23 times, according to one recent study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Drunk driving is another thing that happens with alarming frequency in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone is injured or killed in a drunk-driving related incident every 20 minutes in this state alone. Harris County has more alcohol-related crashes than any of the other counties in the state. In 2018 there were more than 3,000 DUI accidents in Harris County.

Drugs and alcohol impair your cognitive function and can make you unable to properly control a motor vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that drugs and alcohol can adversely affect:

– Judgment: Problem-solving skills and the ability to think on your feet and make wise decisions quickly can be impaired by drugs and alcohol

– Vision: Alcohol makes it harder to judge speed, distance, and rate of movement.

– Reaction times: Drugs and alcohol can slow down the rate at which you process information and respond to that information. Alcohol can also reduce your overall alertness.

Driving While Drowsy

One often overlooked issue is driving while fatigued. This can cause a lot of accidents because people who are tired have poor judgment, alertness and reaction times much like those who are drunk or under the influence of drugs. Fatigued or drowsy driving is sometimes under-reported because it is hard to test for tiredness compared to testing for alcohol, but the risk is genuine and a serious one.


High speed crashes cause more damage and more fatalities than slower ones. The faster a vehicle is going, the less time the driver has to react to potential dangers on the road. Cars that are moving quickly need longer distances to come to a stop. All of these factors mean that crashes are harder to avoid when a driver is going fast, and that if a crash does happen the damage will be more severe. Airbags and seat belts are less useful in high-speed crashes, as well. They are still invaluable, but a person is less likely to suffer from very serious injuries if the speed of the vehicle at impact was reduced.


Related to speeding, tailgating is a dangerous habit that a lot of motorists have. Drivers who are distracted, stressed or impatient may end up driving too close to the car in front. This means there is less space to stop, so if the driver in front has to slow down or stop quickly because of a threat visible to them but not the other motorist, then the car behind might not respond quickly enough, and may collide with them.

Failing to Yield

Sometimes drivers are T-boned or side-swiped by a motorist that they should have yielded to. This tends to happen where there are left turns being made at an intersection if a motorist is going through a pedestrian crosswalk, or when they are merging onto a freeway.

Vehicle Faults

Faulty or defective breaks, steering, tires, airbags, and ignition systems can cause accidents or make an injury worse than it might otherwise have been. All too often, defects are not identified until it is too late, and someone has been injured as a result. Car manufacturers can sometimes be held accountable for faults though a properly filed product liability claim.

One area where there is an increasing number of claims being made is that of self-driving vehicle technology. If a driver uses a vehicle with an autopilot feature such as that of Tesla’s newer vehicles, and the self-driving tech does not operate correctly, then the failure of the vehicle could be flagged up for liability either instead of, or to share with, the driver.

Road Damage

Cracks, potholes, and puddles can cause crashes, and roads with sharp turns or that are very steep can be fraught with danger too. Areas with poor signage are another common cause of problems. If it can be shown that a road is badly designed or that it was poorly maintained, then it may be possible to claim compensation from the agency or agencies that are responsible for taking care of that part of the road.

Texas DOT Car Crash Statistics

The Texas Department of Transportation keeps car crash statistics and has identified several common causes of car crashes. Data from 2016 shows that the most common causes of vehicle accidents in Texas were:

– Excessive speed – 146,884

– Distracted driving – 96,847

– Failure to yield – 95,054

– Failure to stay in a lane – 39,033

– Lane changing in an unsafe way – 37,523

– Ignoring traffic signs – 33,783

– Drunk driving / drugs – 27,401

– Tailgating – 26,954

– Poor evasive action – 24, 327

If you have been involved in a car accident and it was not your fault, you may be able to claim compensation. Contact the Houston car accident attorneys at McDonald Worley. The team is here to fight your corner and help you and your loved ones get the compensation that is due. We have a top-quality legal team that is here to protect your rights and help you to get compensation. Call us today for a no-obligation consultation.


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