What Makes You At Fault For an Accident?

Nobody wants to get into a car crash, but they do still happen with shocking regularity.

When you do encounter a car accident, it’s important to know who is at fault. This can help you understand what caused the accident and how it can be avoided in the future.

There are some behaviors that almost always lead to being at fault. For example, drunk driving causes over 10,000 fatal accidents each year.

Any time that you break a traffic law like drinking and driving, it makes for a great possibility that you will be found at fault should you get into a car crash.

We’ll take a look at a few other reasons that lead to being found at fault for an accident below so that you know what to avoid doing.

What Does It Mean to Be At Fault?

Many different actions can lead to a car crash. Between someone slamming on their brakes in front of you, taking a turn from the middle lane, or running a red light, just about any foolish behaviors can cause an accident.

Because of this, it’s important to understand who caused the crash to determine whose insurance is liable for covering damages. This is where “at fault” comes into play.

As the name suggests, being at fault for an accident means that either you caused the accident or you were responsible for preventing it. In other words, the accident is your fault.

Now let’s take a look at some behaviors that typically lead to you being at fault for an ensuing accident.

Distracted Driving

One bad habit that has quickly become the leading cause of all car accidents is distracted driving.

This mainly pertains to cellphone use while driving, like talking on the phone, texting, browsing through social media feeds, reading a notification, or changing the music.

It can also apply to any other actions that distract you, like eating messy foods, tending to a fussy baby in the backseat, fiddling with the car stereo, grabbing for something that fell underneath your seat, or anything else that takes your eyes off the road.

While distracted driving has always been an issue, smartphones have exponentially increased the number of accidents associated with it. You will almost always be found at fault for an accident if you were driving distracted.

Drunk Driving

Another terrible thing you can do is driving while drunk or under the influence.

Impaired driving is a horrible idea and directly impacts your ability to drive well. Your reaction times are heightened, your motor functions are lessened, and your judgment is significantly worse.

Even if you didn’t directly cause an accident, simply being under the influence will generally make you at fault for an accident. This is not always the case, but drinking and driving automatically cast you into the light of being a negligent driver.

It is extremely difficult to prove another driver as being at fault for an accident if you were found to be drinking and driving. If you’re over the legal drinking limit (0.08 BAC level), then you’ll also be assessed with a DWI or DUI.

Simply put, most drunk drivers are found at fault for accidents they are involved in.

Rear-Ending Another Driver

One type of accident that widely results in being found at fault is a situation where you rear-end another driver. This includes situations where you hit them when they’re fully stopped or if they quickly brake and you don’t stop in time.

The reason for this is that you’re supposed to have an adequate stopping distance between you and another driver. You should never be tailgating or close behind another driver.

This can get a little tricky when a driver in front of you rapidly slams on their brakes, especially if they’re brake-checking you. Even in this situation, you’re still likely to be found at fault because you didn’t leave enough stopping distance between you and them.

If you have a dashcam that can prove that the driver in front of you was brake-checking, some of the fault may be transferred to them. However, most of the fault will still be yours because you still should have created enough distance to stop, meaning that you were following too closely behind them.

Ignoring Traffic Signals

Another situation that typically results in being found at fault is getting into an accident after ignoring a traffic signal. This can include running a red light, blowing through a stop sign, and not respecting a yield sign.

Even if you didn’t notice the traffic sign/signal, you will still be found liable for the accident because it was your responsibility to see and register the sign in the first place. This is negligent driving and will almost always make you to blame.

Respect all traffic lights, signals, and signs to prevent being found at fault for an accident involving one.

Violating Traffic Laws

One final behavior that will also make you guilty is violating a traffic law. This includes actions like speeding, driving in the wrong lane, and the two behaviors we mentioned above; distracted and drunk driving.

It’s almost impossible to get out of being found at fault for an accident when you are already breaking the law. You directly increase the odds of an accident happening when you fail to obey traffic laws because it means that you’re driving recklessly and become unpredictable to other drivers.

Speeding is the biggest culprit here because it gives you less time to react to other drivers and situations. Your stopping time is greatly increased at higher speeds and your vehicle becomes harder to maneuver.

If you don’t want to cause an accident, stick to the speed limit and respect all traffic laws as many other drivers do.

Closing Thoughts

While there are many different causes of car crashes, various negligent behaviors will result in you being found at fault for the accident. This means that you caused the accident or you could have avoided it, making you the responsible party.

This includes distracted driving, drinking and driving, rear-ending another vehicle, ignoring traffic signs/signals, and violating traffic laws.

None of these actions are excusable and they directly lead to car crashes. Respect the law and be a safe driver so that you’ll rarely be found at fault for an accident.