6 Main Causes of Phoenix Car Accidents

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: December 14, 2021

While it may seem like there is endless space on the roads in the Valley, traffic in the Phoenix area has grown far worse since the turn of the century. The area is growing by leaps and bounds, and developers designed it with the car in mind. The adage says that if you build more roads, you will get more traffic.

This is exactly what happened in Phoenix. Every day, hundreds of thousands of motorists take to the roads to reach their destinations. Unfortunately, some of them may not make it safely. Last year, there were just under 100,000 car crashes in Arizona, with 1,057 fatalities.

Despite an extensive public transit network in Phoenix, residents prefer their cars. The city is sprawling, so you almost need a car to get anywhere. There are nearly 5,000 miles of roads in Phoenix maintained by the city. This does not include state highways or other roads maintained by the state of Arizona.

The extensive roadway system encourages people to drive, and it leads to car accidents. Even if Phoenix roads are not as congested as those in other major cities because of the extra space in the Valley, it does not mean that roads are safer. The sheer number of cars in an area dominated by the automobile is a hazard unto itself.

The Climate and Layout of Phoenix Creates Hazards

No single factor causes all of these car accidents. Phoenix drivers may be involved in accidents for many reasons. While drivers do not have to contend with the same snow and ice that drivers in the northern part of the U.S. endure, Phoenix presents unique dangers because of its climate and layout.

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, and it was someone else’s fault, you might recover financial compensation for your injuries. First, you need to call an experienced attorney and work through the claims process to reach a settlement agreement that gives you a check.

Here are some possible causes of Phoenix car accidents that can lead to a settlement check for your injuries. While these factors cause accidents, it does not mean that no other driver was responsible for your injuries. Even though Phoenix road conditions can be challenging, it does not relieve other motorists from using reasonable care behind the wheel.

Phoenix Weather Is Not the Best for Road Safety

Even though Phoenix is a hot and dry climate, this is not always the best thing for cars. People think of Arizona as safer due to the lack of snow or ice. However, desert climate carries unique risks. Cars do not perform their best in extreme heat, Engines may have trouble operating at full capacity, and they can overheat. In addition, tires can degrade in extreme heat. This makes drivers more likely to experience a blowout. When drivers suddenly have a tire go down, they often lose control of their cars, possibly collecting other cars in the process.

The desert heat also poses other challenges. Although it does not rain very often in Phoenix, precipitation can create serious danger. Rain can fall quickly in Arizona. Any moisture can make parched roads slippery. The greatest danger exists when the rain first begins to fall. Since it does not rain often, some drivers are inexperienced in handling precipitation.

Valley Intersections Handle Many Cars, Making Them Treacherous

Engineers should design and build Phoenix intersections to handle a lot of traffic. Some of the city intersections see tens of thousands of cars daily. These intersections have very long lights that impatient drivers will do everything they can to avoid missing. Busy intersections also make for treacherous turns. Many motorists are taking their lives into their hands when they try to make a left-hand turn. The mere fact that there is heavy traffic in both directions makes things extremely challenging for drivers. Even motorists who are not trying to turn are at risk from those trying to beat a light.

The most dangerous intersections in Phoenix will see a car accident every couple of days. Cars crashing in the middle of a turn are among the most dangerous situations because the impact can often be a head-on or t-bone crash. These accidents cause the most serious injuries.

In particular, these are some of the most dangerous intersections in the Phoenix area:

  • 75th Avenue and Indian School in Phoenix
  • 67th Avenue and Indian School in Phoenix
  • 67th Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix
  • 99th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road in Phoenix
  • 51st Avenue and Camelback Road in Glendale

Some intersections in Phoenix see tens of thousands of cars each day. Cars fly by at hazardous speeds, striking vehicles when the drivers think they have enough time to turn.

Phoenix Highways Are Particularly Dangerous

The highways in Phoenix are also among the most dangerous in the country. I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff usually ranks as one of the more treacherous stretches of road in the country based on the number of fatalities. One study ranked it as the fourth most deadly highway in the country – drivers on this road speed far more than average, causing rollovers and moving vehicle accidents.

You may think that I-10 is one of the safer highways because it has so many lanes in the city itself. However, the number of lanes causes unique dangers. First, motorists may be weaving in and out of traffic, making too many dangerous lane changes. Second, the design of the highway encourages reckless driving. Nighttime driving on I-10 is even more hazardous than traveling during the day.

Trucks make other highways treacherous for cars. Drivers will struggle to navigate with all of the large 18-wheelers on the highways, taking up space. Phoenix is a hub for the trucking industry because of its location between California and Texas. In addition, there are numerous large warehouses from the major retail giants located in the states, increasing the number of trucks on the road. Not only will drivers have accidents with trucks, but large trucks can be distracted and cause drivers to make mistakes.

There Is Quite a Bit of Road Construction in Phoenix

Although Phoenix is one of the newer cities in the country, the roads and infrastructure in the Valley are not necessarily in good shape. One study showed that Arizona ranked 15th from the bottom of states in road quality. Another study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation ranked Phoenix as having the worst roads out of 20 major U.S. cities. This has several impacts on safety.

First, drivers have much more trouble controlling their cars when roads require repair. Things like potholes and debris cause their share of accidents. Poor road conditions will damage tires and increase the risk of a blowout. When this happens, drivers will lose control of their cars, hitting other cars and forcing them into traffic.

Second, unsafe roads mean that they will frequently be under construction to repair. Work zones are one of the leading causes of accidents, and Phoenix roads seem like one large work zone these days. There is almost always construction on major roads. While it is great that Arizona invests in road safety, work zones present significant challenges for drivers, especially when other drivers are not showing the care and judgment necessary to travel through them safely.

Phoenix Has an Aggressive and Reckless Driving Problem

Unfortunately, Arizona is one of the leading states in the country for aggressive driving. The state has a definite road rage problem, with multiple high-profile incidents on state highways. Even when Phoenix drivers do not react violently behind the wheel, they can act aggressively.

The roads in the Greater Phoenix area seem to make it easier for drivers to act aggressively or recklessly. Many of the highways outside the city have long straight stretches of road. The further into the desert that you get, the more isolated the roads seem. Even when you drive safely and do everything the right way, others may not. Many people think that these straight roads are an invitation to speed or drive recklessly. They are not. Nonetheless, you may be at risk then they lose control of their cars.

Long and Straight Roads Mean More Distracted Driving

These long stretches of road also encourage distracted driving. Without the curves and bends in the highways to keep drivers alert, they may take out their phones and text. This is a major problem in the Phoenix area, as it is across the entire country. The increasing use of cell phones is a problem for everyone, even though Arizona law strictly prohibits using handheld devices while driving.

Texting while driving does not only happen on isolated desert roads. It also occurs on city streets in Downtown Phoenix and busy highways like I-10. Distracted drivers lose valuable time to respond to prompts on the road or to avoid potential accidents. Accidents involving drivers not paying attention can result in more serious injuries because one driver has not attempted to slow down or avoid the accident. No matter what you do, you simply cannot predict what a distracted driver may do because they are not paying any attention behind the wheel.

Establishing the Cause of Your Phoenix Car Accident

While these are the causes of car accidents in the Phoenix area, the actual cause of your crash may not be established at the time of the accident. You may only learn that one of the above things happened after an investigation into your crash. You probably cannot do this without a car accident lawyer, especially when you struggle with car accident injuries.

Even if road conditions are bad, drivers are not excused from their carelessness when it injures someone else. They cannot point at the weather or the highway itself. They will still need to pay for the injuries that they cause.

This is why you should trust experienced car accident lawyers to handle your case for you. Once you hire us as your attorney, we will get to work investigating what happened. We will gather the evidence necessary to show who caused your crash.

If someone else is to blame, either that individual or their car insurance will need to pay for your injuries. You do not always leave the accident scene knowing exactly who was at fault for the crash and why, but you do need this information when you file an insurance claim. You can be certain that the other driver’s insurance company will be looking to blame you in any way that they can to save themselves money.

When to Call a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer

Evidence that can prove the cause of your Phoenix car accident can get lost very shortly after the accident. Recollections fade, and authorities clear accident scenes quickly. You have a very limited amount of time to gather the proof that you need to receive financial compensation. Besides, the legal process takes time to work through, often requiring several years before you can receive your settlement check.

This is why you must call a lawyer right away after the accident. If not, insurance companies will come looking for you, pressuring you to talk or sign a lopsided settlement agreement. Without an experienced attorney, you can face many risks to your legal rights and your chances of receiving full compensation.

Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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