Common Causes of Car Accidents in Missouri

According to national data tracked by safety organizations and insurance institutes, each of us are in approximately four motor vehicle crashes in our lifetime. That can sound alarming! That crash data includes everything from serious crashes to door dings in the grocery store parking lot. Thus, the data does not predict you will have four chances of being catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle crash. However, there are thousands of individuals seriously injured in car crashes every year in the United States. Serious injury does not always equate to critical injury. Critical injuries are those that are life-threatening. Injuries can be life-changing even if they are not life-threatening.

Life changing injuries require months and years of medical treatment. There are literally hundreds of thousands of car crash victims who have permanent injuries that will require regular treatment for years. In fact, you probably know someone who has been forever altered after a car crash. Road safety experts and law enforcement agree on common causes of crashes. Our attorneys see these common causes daily in the crash reports of our clients.

Most Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Crashes

Distracted Driving

Inattentive driving encompasses quite a few bad driving behaviors including distracted driving. Safety experts and law enforcement frequently use the term “distracted driving” when referring to someone driving while at the same time texting and using an electronic device. Drivers who also engage in texting, snapping photos and responding on phone applications create severe danger because they literally check out for seconds at a time looking at a device. Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off of the roadway. Manual distractions involve taking one or both hands off of the steering wheel such as eating, operating the stereo system and putting on make up.

We often admire those who can multi-task. However, multitasking while driving is not safe. No one is actually “good” at distracted driving, just lucky thus far.


Speeding is common and can be considered an aggressive driving behavior. When a driver speeds, the driver is at a greater risk of losing control of the vehicle. Speed limits are in place to increase safety. When crashes occur at high speeds, the impact is more significant and the protection equipment such as air bags become less effective. Drivers speed for a variety of reasons including lack of patience and running late to their destination. When a driver speeds frequently without consequences, it can become a habit. Speeding is often a contributing factor to serious injury and death.

Reckless Driving

While reckless driving is often compared to distracted driving, reckless driving is more serious. When someone is engaged in reckless driving, they are driving in a way that does not consider the safety of others. Missouri law does not specify all of the driving behaviors of reckless driving, but citations such as “careless and imprudent” can result. Reckless driving results in not only citations but serious injury or worse.

Failure to Yield

We all must follow the rules of the roadway. Why? We follow the rules and trust others to do so in order that our roadway system actually work. A driver failing to yield is a very common cause of crashes. Yielding generally means a driver is coming into a direct intersection with another driver where crashes can happen daily if left up to chance. Yielding the right of way is a common error drivers make that result in crashes. In every state including Missouri, we have laws regarding right-of-way. Violation of these laws can result in citations but more importantly, they result in serious injury collisions.

Failing to Follow Stop Signs and Red Lights

We can become lazy as drivers and we are also creatures of habit. If a driver habitually runs a particular red light in their community, it can become a dangerous habit. This habit is common with drivers who tap the brake to pause but do not actually stop. The problem with just tapping the brake is that is miscommunicates to other drivers. Faking out other drivers is not a great recipe for safety. We have turn signals and brake lights for the expressed purpose of communicating with fellow drivers. Maybe you are familiar with a particular intersection in town where it seems the red lights and stop signs are mere suggestions. You may successfully blow through that light or sign daily–until you do not.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence is illegal in every state. After almost 30 years of public safety awareness campaigns and the fact that almost every one of us has lost a family member or friend to drunk driving, no one can claim they did not know driving under the influence is dangerous. Driving under the influence does not just endanger you but every driver on the roadway. The public is far less tolerant of this behavior than 30 years ago. Since the “public” is also the group that makes up a “jury”, this is really important. Drivers under the influence can face criminal charges along with the very real possibility of serious injury.

Road Rage: Aggressive Driving

We have seen an increase in road rage incidents. Honestly, one road rage fatality is one to many. Once upon a time, we only read news reports about someone who flipped out on the I-95 outside Los Angeles. In the last few years, we have had our own nightmare stories in the greater metro area. Yes, traffic is aggravating. Assuming one is in traffic with the object of being transported somewhere, it seems all the more tragic and horrifying to be involved in some road rage incident that ends it all. More typical road rage behaviors include tailgating, brake checking and weaving in and out of lanes are classified as aggressive driving. A driving conflict that may just infuriate you to no end will actually struggle to make it into your long-term memory. Short term dumb decisions can have permanent consequences.


Those injured in motor vehicle collisions often have no option other than to pursue compensation. It is not a weakness or a favor to want and need fair compensation when someone else is at fault for a crash. Crashes cause injury which require medical treatment. We all know that medical treatment is not cheap. Even if you have health insurance and auto insurance, the insurance companies do not just break out the welcome wagon and offer to pay a fair amount. We know, the insurance commercials are great and many assume that an adjuster is going to be fair simply because you are hurt and can supply medical bills and records to support your claim. Our experience has taught us that it does not really matter how well you present your claim to the insurance adjuster, they are in an adversarial role.

The insurance industry has not become an multi-billion dollar industry by paying out fair claims.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash, call a St. Louis car crash attorney experienced in representing injured clients.

Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation toll free 1.800.685.3302 or locally 314.276.1681

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The Cagle Law Firm serves accident and injury clients throughout St. Louis and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, including the eastern Missouri and southern Illinois communities. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance with your personal injury case, call The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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