How to Prevent and React to the Most Common Causes of Collisions

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

March 26, 2023

How do I Not Get into Car Accidents

Accidents happen all around Colorado and the country for various reasons, but certain items cause accidents more often than others. Collision data is collected by federal and state agencies, departments, and organizations, which analyze the causes of crashes to help in accident prevention.

Speeding is the leading cause of fatal collisions in the United States, accounting for more than 15% of fatalities each year. Distracted driving is the most prevalent cause of accidents among all other forms of non-fatal accidents, including those involving injuries and those involving simply property damage.

According to national statistics, speeding and distracted driving are the leading causes of deadly and non-fatal accidents on Colorado’s roads and highways. According to the most current collision statistics from the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars FLHSMV, speeding was responsible for 426 fatal accidents in 2017, while distracted drivers were responsible for 234 fatal crashes.

Distracted driving caused about 270,000 non-fatal collisions on Colorado highways in 2017, with roughly 3,100 of those resulting in incapacitating injuries. In 2017, speeding caused around 73,000 non-fatal crashes on Colorado’s highways, with 1,350 of them resulting in incapacitating injuries.

The most prevalent causes of crashes are speeding and inattentive driving, as discussed below. Continue reading to learn about the reasons that contribute to speeding, as well as typical distractions, the rules and fines connected with each driving behavior, and how to avoid being a perpetrator or victim of these crashes.


There are two types of speeding laws in Colorado: fundamental speeding rules that apply to drivers driving too fast for the circumstances and regulations that prohibit drivers from exceeding the official speed limit. The fundamental speeding rule in Colorado provides that no person shall drive a car on a roadway at speed higher than is reasonable and sensible given the circumstances and in light of the actual and prospective risks present.

This broad statute allows police officers to issue a speeding ticket in any instance when they believe a car is travelling too fast for the circumstances. In reality, the law specifies when cars should go at a slower pace than the legal speed limit:

When approaching and crossing a crossroads or a railroad crossing When approaching and moving around a curve

When nearing the top of a hill

When driving on a narrow or winding route When meeting pedestrian or other traffic

In Colorado, the second kind of speeding regulation forbids exceeding the legal speed limit. Speeding fines in Colorado vary depending on the circumstances. Colorado, like many other states, doubles the penalties for speeding in construction zones. Similarly, individuals who exceed the speed limit by 21 miles per hour or more suffer higher penalties. In comparison, those who exceed the speed limit by 50 miles per hour or more in Colorado face even severe penalties.

When someone is speeding, law enforcement may issue a citation for reckless driving, depending on the circumstances. A motorist risks getting ticketed for aggressive or reckless driving if they commit a second traffic offence in addition to speeding. Fines rise when speeding causes an accident that causes property damage or bodily injury. Those who speed and cause death may face criminal accusations of vehicular manslaughter.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has spent a lot of time and money researching the effects of speeding. They discovered four risk variables that are often linked to speeding. They are as follows:


When faced with heavy traffic, drivers prone to aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding are more likely to do so.


Drivers with hectic schedules may find themselves rushing from one duty to the next. Some individuals are notorious for being late to work, school, appointments, and other occasions. In any situation, some late drivers attempt to make up time by speeding.


When they’re inside their car, some drivers feel cut off from the rest of the world. This provides individuals with a sense of independence from societal standards such as observing traffic regulations. These drivers speed because they believe they can, and they are unconcerned about individuals who will likely never see them again observing their actions.


Some individuals speed since it is their customary driving style. They seldom contemplate if their behavior could result in an accident that causes hurt or death to others.


Speeding is the most lethal of all collision causes, as simple physics reveals. Force = Mass x Acceleration is one of the first formulae we learn in elementary school science. Accidents

with the highest force on impact have either a large mass or a high rate of acceleration. When a motorist goes faster than other drivers on the road, the acceleration component of the formula is increased, resulting in higher force upon contact.

When huge trucks, which may weigh 20 to 30 times more than the ordinary car, accelerate down the highway, the most deadly combination develops. Those in smaller cars are fortunate if they escape a collision caused by a fast track.

Aside from the increased severity of accidents, the NHTSA cautions that speeding has several additional implications.

Even when drivers detect a road danger, they require a considerably longer stopping distance to escape it if they are speeding;

High speed makes it harder to manage a car, making it more probable for a driver to lose control after meeting a road hazard or critical circumstance;

Driving too fast limits the efficacy of safety features like seat belts and airbags.

speed-related collisions may have significant financial consequences for victims, including high medical expenses, property damage, and missed earnings.


According to the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars, distracted driving is defined as anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your thoughts off the road—using a mobile phone for conversing or texting. In contrast, driving is perhaps the most common kind of distraction. Distracted driving, on the other hand, existed long before mobile phones were introduced. A traffic accident may be caused by various distractions, which the FLHSMV divides into three categories: visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Texting is one of the most deadly driving distractions since it takes visual, physical, and cognitive focus.

For years, commercial truck drivers in Colorado and around the country have been required to follow a restriction on all manual mobile phone usage; they must use a hands-free feature or device and may only press one button to make a call. Texting and driving used to be a minor crime in Colorado, which meant that police could give you a ticket but not pull you over for it—texting while driving is now a principal crime for which law enforcement may pull you over as of July 2019.

Aside from texting, the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars warns of other unhealthy behaviors and diversions that may contribute to road accidents. They include:

Drinking and eating in a car

Caring for passengers in the rear, particularly youngsters

Observing an occurrence outside of the car, such as a traffic collision Interacting with passengers, which is especially risky for Uber and Lyft drivers.

Putting on cosmetics, fixing hair, and other personal hygiene chores; adjusting temperature settings, radios, and other car amenities; or configuring a GPS.


To prevent accidents, drivers must devote their whole attention to the road. This enables them to see possible dangers and respond rapidly. Distracted drivers don’t have enough time to comprehend dangers and respond effectively, resulting in serious accidents.

Distracted Driving Penalties in Colorado

Distracted driving penalties in Colorado are not severe, but they do escalate with further violations. The following are the penalties:

This is the first offence. A $30 basic fine, plus court costs and penalties, is imposed on first-time distracted driving offenders. There will be no points applied on the driver’s license since this is a non-moving traffic offence.

This is your second offence. A motorist faces a $60 basic fine plus court costs and penalties if convicted of a second distracted driving conviction within five years of the first. In addition, the driver’s record is docked three points.

school zones and work zones. Any moving infraction committed in a school or work zone carries a $60 base fine, plus court costs and penalties, as well as a three-point penalty against the driver’s Colorado driver’s license.


Of course, you may avoid becoming a victim of speeding- or distracted-driving accidents by not speeding or driving while distracted. Still, you do not influence the behavior of other drivers. So, how can you stay safe from inattentive, distracted drivers and those that drive too fast? Here are some suggestions:

If a car behind you is speeding and following you on a two-lane road, go to the shoulder and let them pass; on interstates and highways, use the left lane only for passing. In most states, this is the law. Regardless, it permits fast drivers to quickly pass you and may help you prevent an accident.

Keep in mind that speeders are more likely to lose control of their car, so leave them plenty of room. You want to be out of the danger zone of any mishap if they lose control. Avoiding collisions caused by distracted drivers is the greatest approach to prevent them on the road, but this is easier said than done. Allow them to pass or pass you if you detect someone on their phone, reaching into their rear seat, or otherwise acting inattentive. Put as much space between you and them as possible, whatever you do. Distracted driving is particularly common among teen drivers. Set a positive example for your adolescent by discussing the hazards of distracted driving with

them. Educators and employers may also help to raise awareness about the hazards of driving while distracted.


You may not know what to do if you are involved in a traffic accident, particularly if you are confident the other motorist is at fault for speeding or inattentive driving. Here are some urgent things you may do to increase the chances of a favorable result for your claim:


Make your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of anybody else involved in the accident, a primary concern. If you believe the accident resulted in an injury or death, contact 911 as soon as you can guarantee that an emergency response team arrives at the site as quickly as feasible. Even if you feel OK, seek an appointment with a doctor following the accident. Some injuries take hours or even days to manifest symptoms.


Obtain information on the brands, models, and license plates of each car involved in the collision. Obtain the driver’s contact and insurance information as well. You’ll need to claim with your own Colorado insurance company, but serious accidents sometimes surpass personal insurance limits. Take photographs of any property damage, distracting evidence, obvious injuries, and anything else you think your insurance company or lawyer would find useful.


Colorado law allows you to claim damages if you were seriously injured in a traffic crash due to a reckless motorist who was distracted or speeding. A knowledgeable attorney can look into your accident and construct a strong case against the defense. Finding the at-fault driver’s driving history and/or obtaining cell phone data or other evidence to support your case are examples of this. While you concentrate on healing from your injuries, an attorney can guide you through the litigation process.

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