What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Maryland?

What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Maryland?Car accidents happen across Maryland for many reasons. Drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others are at an inherent risk when they hit the road. Knowing what those risks are may help you better prepare for your travels, so you can avoid being injured in one of the more common scenarios for car accidents.


Our daily lives are full of distractions. Our phones, our kids, our work, our pets – they all require our time and attention. However, these distractions can be deadly behind the wheel.

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents and fatalities in the state, and the cause of 48 percent of all traffic accidents in Maryland annually.

Reckless driving

Reckless drivers increase the odds of a collision. They swerve in and out of lanes, exceed the speed limit, and attempt dangerous driving maneuvers like the following:

  • Failing to yield
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Cutting off drivers
  • Impaired driving
  • Racing
  • Improperly passing other vehicles
  • Making turns from the wrong lane

These drivers put themselves and others at risk every time they get behind the wheel. They’re also fairly common on Maryland roads. In 2022, aggressive drivers contributed to 3,365 crashes in the state; of those collisions, 35 were fatal and 1,784 resulted in injuries.

Fatigue or drowsy driving

Another common cause of accidents is drowsy driving. It may not seem illegal and hazardous, but drowsy driving has a similar impact as drunk driving. Although drowsy driving can often be prevented if the driver takes a nap before hitting the road or finds an alternative to driving, many tired people will believe they can power through and just drive slower than usual. Fighting sleep while driving is never a good idea.

Drowsy driving is one of the most underreported statistics because researchers rely heavily on hospital and police reports. Drowsy driving has killed 55 people and injured more than 5,000 over the past five years in Maryland.

Truck drivers are perhaps the most at risk for fatigued driving. Commercial truckers typically have a strict schedule. They work long hours and must meet tight deadlines. They are transporting goods via a significantly larger vehicle, and if they cause an accident, it may have catastrophic consequences for others on the road. Sleepiness causes the brain to work at a slower rate, which can negatively affect reaction times. Sometimes, fatigue will hit when you are already on the road– for example, you felt fine when leaving the office, but later realized your eyes were drooping halfway home. Anyone who is not fully alert should avoid driving.

Ignoring traffic signals

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott told WJZ News in March that “roughly 1,922 people are driving like traffic laws are optional,” specifically citing red light runners – and that’s just in Baltimore. The last time any real data was published about fatal red light accidents in Maryland was 2019, when we were 18th in the nation for these tragic crashes.


Drinking and driving is dangerous and illegal. If someone is planning to drink, they should refrain from driving. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can significantly impair a person’s reaction time while driving. An estimated 800 people have died in Maryland over the last five years due to accidents involving impaired drivers.

Victims of drunk drivers are often innocent people on the road. Maryland car accident attorneys have seen many cases where the drunk driver does not suffer injuries, but the other driver is killed. If you’ve been drinking, the best option is to leave the car, hail a cab, or get a rideshare.

Other contributing factors

There are many significant factors that may contribute to or cause a Maryland car accident, such as:

  • Nighttime driving
  • Animal crossings
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Inclement Weather
  • Poor road conditions
  • Faulty vehicle equipment

All accidents are unique. Some will result in injuries and property damage, while others will not. Depending on your circumstances, you may have different legal options. Regardless of whether the cause of the collision is speeding, reckless driving, or intoxication, you should obtain legal representation. Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. has over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Maryland. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule an initial consultation and speak to our Maryland car accident attorneys at one of our offices today.