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The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Denver, CO

There were over 15,000 car wrecks in Denver during 2023 alone, including 32 fatal crashes and 574 crashes that resulted in serious injuries to at least one individual. While each of these crashes has unique facts that distinguish one from the other, many of these wrecks are the result of one or more of the same factors.

The Colorado State Police has identified those factors that commonly lead to car accidents throughout Colorado, including Denver. For drivers in Denver, it is essential to understand the most common reasons you can experience a crash in the city.

Impaired Driving

Alcohol, marijuana, and even some prescription medications can negatively impact your ability to drive your vehicle safely. Some of these substances act as depressants, slowing down your faculties. 

When you are under the influence of these substances, it can take you longer to see dangers on the road and react to them. For example, you may need more time than a sober driver to see a pedestrian crossing the street and stop safely.

Other substances act as stimulants, creating an excitable or nervous energy that is equally impairing. While under the influence of these substances, you can have trouble accurately perceiving how fast you and others are traveling. You can also take greater risks or engage in more aggressive driving behaviors.

Lane Violations

A lane violation occurs when a driver unlawfully and unsafely leaves their lane of travel. This can happen through carelessness, such as when you change lanes on the highway without checking your blind spot. 

Negligent lane violations also happen if you move from one lane to another without giving a proper signal. These and other movements can surprise nearby drivers and lead to collisions.

In other cases, drivers may commit lane violations intentionally as a means of expressing outrage or anger at another driver. For example, an impatient or aggressive driver may cut off other drivers on the road by intentionally committing lane violations. These maneuvers can likewise catch other drivers off-guard and contribute to motor vehicle wrecks.


Whenever you speed, you give yourself less time and distance to react to dangers on the road. Stopping suddenly while you are speeding can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and crash, even if you are trying to avoid one. 

For instance, it can take you 316 feet to stop your vehicle when traveling 65 miles per hour. When traveling 75 miles per hour, it takes over 400 feet to bring your vehicle to a stop safely.

Not only does speeding increase the distance and time needed to stop in an emergency, but it also makes it more difficult for you to control your car. Aggressive turns and braking at high speeds can easily cause you to skid, slide, or roll over, thereby increasing the risk of a crash.

Finally, driving fast can increase the risk of a fatal outcome in the event of a collision. The faster you travel, the more energy your vehicle transfers to other cars and individuals in a crash. Conversely, reducing your speed by even a single mile per hour can reduce the risk of a fatal accident by 17%.

Inattentive Driving

Driving is an act that demands your full attention and engagement. Yet some drivers attempt to divide their attention between driving and texting, surfing the internet, or eating a meal. These actions may only divert a driver’s attention away from the road for a matter of seconds, but you can travel a significant distance in those few seconds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that sending or reading an average text message requires your attention for five seconds. When you are traveling at 55 miles per hour, diverting your attention for these few seconds means that you will travel the length of a football field with your eyes off of the road.

Other behaviors, like eating or drinking, can mean that your hands are not fully engaged with the task of driving. It is difficult to control your car safely and make an evasive maneuver if one hand is holding a sandwich or a coffee. 

Additionally, even if your eyes remain on the road, your focus and attention are on not spilling your food or drink. This means your reaction time may not be as swift as it would be otherwise.

Failing To Yield the Right of Way

Right-of-way laws serve to help traffic move safely through intersections and other places where motor vehicles converge. In some places, traffic lights and signs identify which driver has the right of way. At uncontrolled intersections and merge points, it falls to drivers to remember right-of-way laws and apply them correctly.

Whether through carelessness or through intentional and aggressive driving, drivers who violate right-of-way laws help contribute to fatal and injury accidents. A driver who believes they have the right of way may not be prepared to react to another motorist who proceeds when they do not have the right of way. This can lead to head-on and side-impact collisions.

Other Aggressive Driving Behaviors

The Colorado State Police also identify aggressive driving actions, such as running stop signs and following other vehicles too closely, as a factor leading to injury and fatal crashes. 

Like right-of-way laws, traffic laws work to help traffic move in predictable and safe ways along the road. When motorists do not follow these laws because they forget them or choose to ignore them, they create situations in which a collision is likely and difficult to avoid.

Many Colorado Car Accidents Can Be Avoided

These factors commonly contribute to car accidents in Denver and throughout Colorado. It is important to note that most — if not all — of these factors are avoidable when drivers prioritize safe driving.

When you drive while impaired or distracted, ignore traffic laws, or engage in careless driving behavior, you can increase your chance of getting hurt in a Denver motor vehicle accident. Avoiding these practices can help keep you and other drivers safe on Denver roads.

Contact a Denver Car Accident Attorney Who Knows How to Handle Your GEICO Claim

GEICO is the second largest auto insurance company in the United States, and their claims adjusters are experienced in settling claims for as little as possible. Their adjusters may tell you that you do not need an attorney.

Do not be fooled. You need an attorney who knows GEICO’s secrets and how to get you the compensation you deserve. Our experienced attorneys are experienced in Colorado personal injury law and in dealing with GEICO claims adjusters. Contact us for a free consultation today.

For more information please contact Zaner Harden Law, LLP to schedule a free initial consultation with a Denver car accident lawyer.

Zaner Harden Law, LLP

1610 Wynkoop Street, Suite 120. Denver, CO 80202
(720) 613 9706

Where We Are

We are located across the street from Union Station in downtown Denver and offer validated parking for all our clients. We also have offices in Boulder and Colorado Springs.