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10 Common Reasons Car Accidents Occur on Road Trips

When you’re on a road trip, the last thing you want is for an accident to occur. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and there are many different reasons they happen.

This article will discuss 10 of the most common reasons why accidents occur on road trips. We’ll also provide some tips on how to avoid these accidents altogether!

family packing their car for a road trip

Why Do Accidents Happen on Road Trips?

1. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents, and it’s prevalent on road trips. When driving for long periods, it’s easy to get distracted by your passengers, music, or even the scenery outside.

2. Fatigue is another common cause of accidents, especially among long-distance drivers. When you’re tired, it’s harder to pay attention to the road, and you’re more likely to make mistakes.

3. Speeding is another major cause of accidents. When you’re on a road trip, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and start driving too fast. However, speeding is dangerous, and it increases your chances of getting into an accident.

4. Driving under the influence is another major cause of accidents. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had one drink or ten; if you’re under the influence, your reflexes are slowed, and you’re more likely to make mistakes.  

5. Road rage is another common cause of accidents. It can be really easy to get angry behind the wheel, especially if you’re stuck in traffic or someone cuts you off. However, it’s important to remember that road rage doesn’t just put yourself at risk but everyone else on the road.

6. Weather conditions are another factor that can contribute to accidents. For example, bad weather such as rain, sleet, or snow can make roads slick and challenging to navigate. To make matters worse, many people don’t know how to drive in these conditions, increasing the chance of an accident.

7. Construction zones are another hazard to watch out for. These areas are often unmarked, and it can be easy to miss a turn or an exit. And even if the construction zone is well-marked, the traffic patterns can be confusing and hard to navigate, increasing your risk of being involved in an accident.   

8. Animals on the road are also a common cause of accidents. Whether it’s a deer crossing the road or a squirrel darting out from the side, animals can easily startle you and cause you to swerve or lose control of your car. 

9. Poorly maintained vehicles are another common cause of accidents. From bald tires to broken headlights, if your car isn’t in good condition, it’s more likely to cause an accident.

10. Accidents can also be caused by driver error. This can include making sudden lane changes, not using turn signals, or following too closely.

How Can You Avoid These Accidents?

While you can’t always avoid accidents, there are some things you can do to decrease your chances of being involved in one.

  • First and foremost, drive safely. This means obeying the speed limit, not driving under the influence, and staying focused on the road.
  • Secondly, be prepared for anything. This means having a well-maintained vehicle, preparing for bad weather conditions, and carefully navigating construction zones.
  • Thirdly, be alert and aware of your surroundings. This means being on the lookout for animals on the road and paying attention to other drivers. Also, if you’re feeling tired, take a break. Don’t try to push yourself to keep driving.
  • Lastly, stay calm. If you start to feel angry or frustrated, take a deep breath and try to relax.

3 Things to Check Before Your Next Road Trip

Every year, thousands of car accidents occur due to preventable mechanical failures. In many cases, these failures could be avoided if drivers took the time to perform a few simple inspections before starting on a road trip. Here are three important things to check before your next road trip.


One of the most important things to check before starting your car is the brakes. To inspect the brakes, start by looking at the brake pads. If they are worn down, they will need to be replaced. Next, check the brake fluid level. If it’s low, add more fluid. Finally, test the brakes by pressing down on the pedal. If they are not working properly, do not drive the car. 

Driving with faulty brakes is very dangerous. For example, you may not be able to stop in time if another vehicle cuts you off or if you need to brake suddenly to avoid an obstacle on the road. In the worst-case scenario, your brakes could fail entirely, leading to a potentially fatal crash


Before starting your car, it’s also important to check the battery to make sure that it’s in good working condition. You should look for cracks, leaks, or any other damage that could prevent the battery from starting the car. It’s also important to check the battery’s terminals to make sure that they are clean and free of corrosion. If there is any corrosion on the terminals, it can prevent the battery from starting the car. 

Driving with a faulty battery is dangerous because it can cause the engine to stall, which can lead to an accident. A dead battery can also prevent the airbags from deploying in a crash. So, if you’re unsure about your battery, it’s best to have it checked by a professional.


Another thing you should check on your car before driving is the tires. Look for any visible damage, such as cuts or cracks in the rubber, and make sure that the tread is not excessively worn. It’s also important to check the air pressure in all four tires. If a tire is significantly under-inflated, it can overheat and fail while you’re driving. Conversely, an overinflated tire is more likely to burst if it hits a pothole or other object in the road. Either way, driving with faulty tires is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

How to Stay Awake on Long Road Trips

young family on a road trip

1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before You Start Your Journey

This may seem obvious, but it’s crucial to be well-rested before setting off. When you’re well-rested, your body and mind are better equipped to handle the demands of a long journey. There is no substitute for getting enough sleep.

2. Start Your Journey Early

If possible, try to start your drive during the morning hours. At this time, your body’s natural circadian rhythms are more alert and energized, so you’ll be less likely to feel sleepy later on in the day.

Avoid driving too late into the night, especially around the hours of midnight to six in the morning when your body’s natural inclination is generally to sleep, not drive.

3. Take Regular Breaks

If you’re driving for more than a couple of hours at a time, make sure to take regular breaks. Get out of the car, stretch your legs and get some fresh air to help keep your energy levels up. Even if you stop for a few minutes every hour or so, it can make a big difference.

4. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can make you feel tired and sleepy, so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids when you’re on a long car journey.

However, avoid sugary drinks like soda, as they will only give you a temporary energy boost followed by an inevitable crash. Instead, consider sticking to water, unsweetened tea, or coffee.

5. Chew Gum

Chewing gum can help keep you awake and alert, especially if you’re starting to feel drowsy. The act of chewing itself is enough to keep your mind active and focused, while the flavor can also help to perk you up.

While gum can help you stay alert, it is important to understand that it is not a replacement for getting enough sleep and taking breaks.

6. Snack up With Healthy Foods

Unhealthy foods will generally make you feel sluggish, so it’s best to avoid them on long road trips. Instead, stock up on healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables, yogurt, whole grain bread, or nuts and seeds. These foods will help provide you with sustained energy without making you feel weighed down.

These simple suggestions can help you stay awake and alert on a long road trip.

What Happens if You Get in a Car Accident on a Road Trip?

Car accidents can often be very costly. If you’ve been in an accident on a road trip due to another driver’s negligence, you are likely entitled to compensation. Get in touch with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer at The Hoffmann Law Firm 24/7 for a free case evaluation to ensure your legal rights are protected.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

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Updated: August 24, 2022