Top Causes of Car Accidents in Arizona

Several common causes regularly contribute to the occurrence of car accidents in Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 119,991 motor vehicle collisions reported across the state in 2022. Of those, more than 35,000 resulted in injuries and more than 1,100 resulted in deaths.

Auto accident involving two cars on a city street. car accidents in Arizona

Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Arizona

Understanding the prevalent causes of car accidents in Arizona can help drivers stay vigilant and take necessary precautions. 

One leading factor in car accidents is distracted driving, with the increasing use of smartphones being a significant contributor. Whether it’s texting, browsing, or even GPS navigation, taking one’s eyes off the road for even a few seconds can lead to disastrous consequences. Another common cause is speeding, particularly on long stretches of highway, where drivers may feel a false sense of security. Exceeding the posted speed limits reduces reaction time and increases the severity of accidents. Vehicle failure also sometimes contributes to auto accidents.

Additionally, impaired driving remains a persistent issue. Despite stringent laws, some motorists still choose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs, endangering themselves and others on the road. The state’s diverse weather conditions also play a role, with sudden rainstorms, dust storms, and monsoons creating hazardous driving conditions. 

Lastly, failure to yield right of way and running red lights are frequent culprits in intersection-related accidents. Recognizing these common causes empowers drivers to adopt safer habits, ultimately contributing to a decrease in accidents on Arizona’s roads.

What Is Considered Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving stands out as one of the leading causes of accidents in Arizona. It encompasses a wide range of activities that divert a driver’s attention from the road. Texting, browsing social media, adjusting the radio, or even daydreaming can all lead to dangerous situations on the road.

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. It can be classified into three main categories:

Visual Distraction

Visual distraction involves taking your eyes off the road. Examples include texting, reading a map, or looking at a GPS device. Although texting and driving is illegal in Arizona, many drivers use their cellphones while behind the wheel.

Manual Distraction

Manual distraction refers to activities that take your hands off the wheel. It includes actions like eating, adjusting the radio, or using a handheld device.

Cognitive Distraction

Cognitive distraction involves mental activities that divert your focus from driving. Daydreaming, talking on the phone, or engaging in deep conversations with passengers are examples of cognitive distractions.

Understanding these categories is essential for recognizing potentially dangerous behaviors and taking steps to prevent them. Remember, even a brief moment of distraction can have serious consequences on the road.

Drunk Driving Statistics

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a significant contributor to accidents in Arizona. Impaired drivers have diminished reaction times, impaired judgment, and reduced coordination, making them a danger to themselves and others on the road.

Despite extensive efforts to combat drunk driving, it remains a significant problem in Arizona. Driving under the influence contributed to 36% of the state’s traffic-related deaths in 2021. The increase in alcohol-impaired driving deaths pushed Arizona into the eighth spot on the nation’s list of deadliest states for drunk driving.

Examples of Reckless Driving

Understanding reckless driving behaviors is crucial in preventing accidents caused by human error. Common examples include:


Excessive speeds reduce reaction time and increase the severity of accidents. Always adhere to posted speed limits, especially in residential areas and construction zones.

Distracted Driving

Using a phone, eating, or engaging in other distractions diverts your attention from the road. Even a split-second distraction can lead to a collision.

Impaired Driving

Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a leading cause of accidents. Always have a designated driver or utilize alternative transportation options.

Running Red Lights and Stop Signs

Disregarding traffic signals is a dangerous practice that often leads to intersection accidents. Always come to a complete stop and assess the situation before proceeding.


Following too closely behind another vehicle doesn’t allow for adequate reaction time. Maintain a safe distance to mitigate the risk of rear-end collisions.

Failure to Observe Traffic Laws

When another driver fails to observe traffic laws, it can lead to devastating consequences. A car accident lawyer is your advocate in these situations. He or she will meticulously analyze the circumstances of the incident, gathering evidence to demonstrate the negligence of the responsible party. This may involve obtaining surveillance footage, eyewitness testimonies, or consulting with accident reconstruction experts. With his or her expertise, a car accident lawyer will build a compelling case to ensure you receive fair compensation for injuries, property damage, and other losses.

Who Is Held Liable When Poor Road Conditions Cause an Accident?

Navigating hazardous road conditions adds an extra layer of complexity to determining liability. When accidents occur due to poor road conditions, it’s crucial to identify responsible parties, which may include government entities or private contractors. A seasoned car accident lawyer understands the intricacies of filing claims against these entities. He or she will conduct a thorough investigation to establish liability, leveraging his or her knowledge of local laws and regulations. 

Safe Driving Tips

Safe driving is the cornerstone of preventing Arizona car accidents. Implementing these fundamental tips can significantly reduce the risk of collisions:

  • Stay Focused and Alert: Distractions, such as texting, adjusting the radio, or even daydreaming, can lead to serious accidents. Keep your attention on the road at all times.
  • Obey Traffic Laws: Follow posted speed limits, stop at stop signs, and yield the right of way when required. These rules exist to keep everyone on the road safe.
  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Leave ample space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This gives you enough time to react if sudden braking is necessary.
  • Use Turn Signals: Signaling your intentions helps other drivers anticipate your actions, reducing the likelihood of unexpected maneuvers.
  • Avoid Aggressive Driving Behaviors: Road rage, tailgating, and aggressive maneuvers only escalate dangerous situations. Stay calm and patient, even in heavy traffic.
  • Buckle Up: Seat belts are the simplest and most effective way to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Ensure all passengers are buckled up as well.

Driving Safely in Different Weather Conditions

Arizona’s diverse climate can present unique challenges for drivers. Being prepared for various weather conditions is essential for safe travel:

Extreme Heat

High temperatures can affect road conditions and vehicle performance. Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained, with properly inflated tires and a functioning cooling system.

Monsoon Season

Sudden, heavy rains can lead to reduced visibility and slippery roads. Slow down, increase your following distance, and use your headlights to improve visibility.

Dust Storms

Dust storms can cause near-zero visibility, making driving hazardous. If caught in a dust storm, pull off the road, turn off your lights, and wait for the storm to pass.

Winter Weather in Northern Arizona

While less common, snow and ice can make roads treacherous. Equip your vehicle with appropriate tires and drive cautiously, allowing extra time for braking.

Flash Floods

Sudden rain can lead to flash floods, especially in low-lying areas. Avoid driving through flooded roads, as it’s difficult to judge the depth of the water.

By adopting safe driving practices, recognizing reckless behaviors, and understanding how to navigate Arizona’s diverse weather conditions, you can significantly reduce the risk of being involved in a car accident. Prioritize safety on the road, not only for your own well-being, but for the well-being of others as well.

Common Arizona Car Accident Injuries

Common Arizona car accident injuries include whiplash, fractures and broken bones, chest contusions, and rib injuries. Head injuries, ranging from concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries, can also occur. Back injuries, such as herniated discs or strains, may result from the jarring motion of a collision. Additionally, internal injuries like organ damage or internal bleeding can be serious, but may not always be immediately apparent. The most common injuries from car accidents also include psychological trauma, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. It’s crucial for individuals involved in car accidents to seek medical attention promptly and consider legal support for their recovery.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You

A car accident lawyer may be an invaluable ally in the aftermath of a collision. An attorney will aid you with how to negotiate a car accident settlement. His or her knowledge and experience in handling cases involving traffic law violations and poor road conditions may help ensure you have the best chance of receiving fair compensation.

By enlisting the assistance of an Arizona car accident attorney, you may significantly increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve for medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other damages resulting from the accident.

Christopher D. Burk has been protecting the rights of injured victims in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Hawaii since 2004. He believes that when a person is injured because another person or company was careless, the negligent parties should be held accountable for the damages they’ve caused.

Years of Experience: 20 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Nevada State Bar Arizona State Bar California State Bar Federal Courts of Nevada, California, and Arizona

Christopher D. Burk has been protecting the rights of injured victims in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Hawaii since 2004. He believes that when a person is injured because another person or company was careless, the negligent parties should be held accountable for the damages they’ve caused.

Years of Experience: 20 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Nevada State Bar Arizona State Bar California State Bar Federal Courts of Nevada, California, and Arizona

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