The Top 3 Causes of Car Crashes in Tennessee | The Law Offices of G Turner Howard III

As a driver, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings. But even more, it’s important to be aware of your own driving habits and ask yourself this tough question: “could my driving result in a crash?”

When it comes to accidents, no one likes to picture themselves at fault after a bad accident, but the truth is… accidents happen! Driving is a big responsibility… and a dangerous one at that.

Every year, Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports on the number of traffic accidents and the driver action that caused them. Over the years, the total number of accidents have continued to grow, yet (for the most part) the causes are always the same.

Below are the top 3 reasons for automobile accidents in Tennessee since 2009.

Following Improperly

In Tennessee, 354,084 accidents were caused due to following improperly behind another car. This means failing to leave the proper distance between you and the car in front of you. Though down from the year before, this number has consistently continued to rise since 2009.

The 3-Second Rule

Following improperly, often referred to as “tailing” or “tailgating,” is the result of not following something called the 3-second rule. This rule of unknown origins has become the general rule of thumb for creating ample distance between drivers. In order to remain safe on the road, ask yourself, “am I following at least 3 seconds behind the car in front of me?” If not, you may be putting yourself and the drivers in front of you at risk for an unnecessary accident.

Failure to Yield the Right of Way

Following behind improper distance between vehicles is failure to yield the right of way. Since 2009, this has caused 284,636 car accidents across the state of Tennessee. This number remained steady from 2009-2015, before rising by a few hundred (on average) per each following year.

Depending on state law, a ticket for failing to yield can be between $75-400. If an accident occurs due to failing to yield, it’s usually after the driver makes a left hand turn on a yellow or red light. Accidents that occur from failure to yield are different from other types of accidents because the injured/not-at-fault driver is typically the one who drives into the law-breaking driver’s car. This can be extremely dangerous and even fatal for both parties involved.

Failure to Keep in the Proper Lane

Running off the road due to failure to stay in the proper lane is the third highest cause of car crashes in Tennessee, coming in at 244,742 accidents since 2009. Unlike following too closely or failing to yield the right of way, this number has steadily dropped over the years.

Is it a DUI Case?

Failure to keep in your own lane for a considerable distance is failure to maintain lane traffic laws. Many drivers are pulled over and given a breathalyzer test based on the assumption that alcohol is involved and is causing the excessive drifting of the vehicle. However, other common reasons for excessive drifting can be drowsiness, wind speeds, and potholes and can often be mistaken for under-the-influence driving. If this is the case for you or someone you know, be sure to consult an experienced DUI defense attorney to discuss your case.

Have You Been in An Accident?

If you’ve recently been in an automobile accident and are looking for advice on what to do next, contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your options. There’s a chance you may be entitled to financial compensation for medical coverage and/or lost wages. In your search for the best lawyer for you, make sure to research reviews and ask for personal recommendations in your area.


After spending his secondary years of study at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, G Turner Howard III earned his BA at Tulane University. A member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, he received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Before becoming an attorney, he earned a Master’s and Doctor of Divinity at Andrews Theological Seminary and Columbia Theological Seminary. He also served as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army in Vietnam. With more than 20 years of experience, his firm has helped clients receive millions of dollars for personal injury, and in many cases, much faster than they ever expected.
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