common causes of car accidentsNebraska car accidents are, unfortunately, common. In 2018, there were 36,117 crashes in the state, with 17,726 people injured and 230 deaths, as reported by the Nebraska Department of Transportation. By far, the most common cause of car accidents is operator error. As vehicle technology has improved, cars have become safer. 

What Causes Car Accidents in Nebraska?

Within the group of car accidents caused by operator error, the following are the most common reasons crashes occur.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving occurs when a person focuses on things other than the road while driving. Any time a person doesn’t focus on what’s happening around them, they are more likely to cause an accident. Common causes of this include:

  • Texting 
  • Talking or arguing with others in the car
  • Eating 
  • Applying makeup 
  • Using a hand-held cell phone 
  • Daydreaming 

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is a common cause of car accidents in Nebraska. The Department of Transportation states that, in 2017, there were 1,661 alcohol-related crashes in Nebraska. Driving under the influence is dangerous because:

  • Reaction times are lower
  • Reckless driving, such as speeding, is common
  • Falling asleep at the wheel happens more often
  • Swerving occurs as a result of a loss of motor control 
  • Distraction is common


A person driving a vehicle at a higher rate of speed than is allowable puts everyone on the road at a higher risk for accidents. It’s not uncommon for speeding to lead to a loss of control over the vehicle, especially at curves or on narrow stretches of road. It also means a person has less time to react to changing road conditions or what other drivers are doing. 

Poor Road Conditions

In some cases, poor road conditions, or the inability to navigate challenging road conditions, leads to accidents. This could be due to:

  • Icy roads
  • Wet surfaces, especially with ponding
  • Potholes or uneven surfaces (especially when combined with speeding) 
  • Narrow roadways 
  • Construction work

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving occurs when a person drives recklessly out of anger or frustration. Common examples include: 

  • Tailgating
  • Switching lanes without signaling 
  • Driving too close to other drivers
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Shouting or making gestures at other drivers

Teen Drivers

Teen drivers increase the risk of accidents due to inexperience. In some cases, teens are more likely to be reckless drivers because of this inexperience. Some may speed and take higher risk turns. Others are scared drivers, which can also increase the risk of accidents. 

Elderly Drivers

Not all elderly drivers cause car accidents in Nebraska. However, as a person ages, his or her ability to react quickly and adjust to changing road conditions changes. Older people may not have clear vision. Some are fearful of other drivers, which causes them to drive at a very slow rate. 

Drowsy Drivers

Tired drivers are a very common cause of accidents. A tired driver is less capable of reacting and more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel. 

What Caused Your Car Accident?

If you’re in a car accident that someone else caused, you may be unsure why it happened. That’s one of the reasons to call on the police before you leave the scene of the accident. Police officers can gather information, such as if a driver is intoxicated, to help in the investigation.

It’s also important to document anything you notice that could be an indication of the cause of the accident. For example, was the driver swerving into and out of lanes? Did the other driver seem to be on his or her phone while driving? Witness statements can also provide clarification. A full investigation is often necessary to gather these details. 

Why Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?

After a car accident, it’s critical to take action. You need to call your attorney once you’re home from receiving any necessary medical care. Your Omaha car accident attorney will help guide the investigation into the cause of the accident. He or she will also give you strategies and resources to help you prove what occurred. 

At the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop, PC, LLO, you’ll gain the support you need to find out what caused the car accident and how to ensure you get full compensation for your losses. Request a free consultation now.