The 7 Top Factors Causing Car Accidents in South Carolina

Unfortunately, car accidents are a common occurrence. They happen each and every day. Car accidents can also have a huge, negative impact on your life, especially if they involve you or someone you love. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a single recent year, there were 5.7 million car accidents in the United States. In those accidents, 32,719 people lost their lives and 2.3 million people were injured. In that same year, 767 South Carolinians were killed and thousands more were injured in car accidents. There are many different factors that can lead to car accidents. Sadly, almost all of them are rooted in driver negligence. Here are the seven leading causes of car accidents in South Carolina:

1. Distracted driving

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Not paying attention while driving is incredibly dangerous. Distracted driving practices can include things such as texting, talking on a cellphone, eating, or even watching a movie while behind the wheel. According to the NHTSA, in a typical year, distracted driving causes 3,200 deaths and 424,000 injuries. Tragically, distracted driving causes 16 percent of all crashes, 18 percent of injury-causing crashes, and 10 percent of all fatal crashes.

2. Drunk driving

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Even though everyone knows that drunk driving is reckless, dangerous, and selfish, people still do it. In 2018, drunk driving caused nearly 300 deaths in South Carolina alone. These deaths accounted for 30 percent of traffic deaths in the state. South Carolina consistently ranks amongst the worst in the nation for drunk driving prevalence and high rate of deadly rate of drunk driving fatalities.

3. Reckless driving

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Reckless driving often leads to accidents and can include actions such as: excessive speeding, road rage, breaking suddenly, weaving in and out of traffic, or other aggressive maneuvers.

Notably, driving far over the speed limit is particularly dangerous. According to the NHTSA, in just one year, 306 deaths in South Carolina and 9,613 deaths across the country occurred due to speeding-related accidents.  Moreover, the government estimates that each year, speeding-related crashes cost around $40.4 billion.

4. Driver fatigue

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Driving while drowsy is becoming a major issue in the United States. Not being alert leads to inattention and delayed reflexes behind the wheel. Needless to say, falling completely asleep while manning a vehicle is incredibly dangerous. According to research done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, 21 percent of deadly car crashes involve a drowsy driver, and one-third of all drivers admitted that they had previously fallen asleep while driving.

5. Tailgating

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Tailgating, or driving too closely behind the car in front of you, is a form of aggressive driving. Tailgating is also a leading factor in rear-end collisions. Rear-end accidents is one of the most common types collision and are a major cause of injuries. When getting behind the wheel, it is important to always leave enough space between you and the car in front of you to allow enough time to break or respond if there is a sudden change. It is recommended that you leave at least 2 to 3 seconds between your car and the vehicle you are following. However, conditions such as bad weather or heavy traffic, may require longer following distances.

6. Teen drivers

Unsurprisingly, as young drivers have the least experience and are the least mature of drivers on the road, they have the most accidents. As reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the crash rate per mile is three times higher for teen drivers than it is for drivers age 20 and older. Further, the IIHS found that 2,524 teenagers were killed in car accidents in a single, recent year.

7. Failure to yield right-of-way

Ignoring the legal right-of-way, as defined by South Carolina traffic laws, is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. This can include maneuvers such as aggressive lane changes, running a red light, or not stopping at or “rolling through” a stop sign. Nearly 50 percent of accidents that involve someone running a red light result in injuries.

If you, or someone you love, has been involved in a car accident in South Carolina, it is imperative that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries and damages.

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About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.