Types of Mechanical Failures that Cause Accidents
While unsafe driving is primarily what leads to a car accident, there can be other reasons for a crash. Even if a driver practices safe driving habits, a mechanical problem can cause them to lose control of their vehicle. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of mechanical failures that cause auto accidents.
If the brakes aren’t functioning properly on your vehicle, you may not be able to slow down or stop suddenly if needed. Bad brakes are responsible for about 20% of car accidents that are related to mechanical failure; most of them are rear-end collisions. Faulty brakes might be related to worn-out or leaky brake lines, worn-out brake pads, and discs, or even a malfunctioning Antilock Brake System.
To prevent issues with your braking system, be sure to have the vehicle’s brakes checked every 30,000 miles. Most brake pads will start to wear out significantly after that mileage.
Faulty Headlights or Taillights
If you can’t see your surroundings or other drivers cannot see you, an accident is bound to happen. Functioning headlights and taillights are essential for nighttime driving, inclement weather, or during other low-visibility conditions. Vehicle lights help drivers see the road and other vehicles, as well as potential hazards. Lights also make other, nearby drivers aware that you’re braking, turning, or making a lane change. When you cannot see or signal, you’re at risk of hitting another vehicle or getting rear-ended or sideswiped.
Be sure to regularly check all of your vehicle’s exterior lights, to ensure that they’re working properly. Also, if you notice a headlight or taillight out, fix or replace it as soon as possible.
Faulty Steering or Suspension System
Another common cause of accidents due to mechanical failure is a faulty steering or suspension system. If your vehicle’s steering or suspension system fails, you may lose control of the car. You may not be able to steer the vehicle and yourself out of harm’s way. Steering problems can lead to serious accidents with catastrophic or even deadly injuries.
The best way to prevent steering or suspension system issues is to take your car in for regular maintenance checks. Have your mechanic inspect the system. You may even want to ask for a OBD-II system check, which is an evaluation of the vehicle’s on-board diagnostics system to check for any error codes.
Faulty tires are one of the most common causes of vehicle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire failure is to blame for as much as 35% of all car accidents due to mechanical failure. If a driver has worn-out tires on their vehicle, the tires are more likely to slip and it will take longer for the vehicle to brake. The driver will have less control over the vehicle and are more likely to hydroplane. Tire blowouts can also cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle. Blowouts happen when tires are worn out, underinflated, or have been punctured.
To avoid faulty tires, you should regularly check the tread level and the tire pressure. Have your mechanic check the alignment – poorly aligned wheels wear out faster.
Faulty Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are crucial for safe driving. They help clear our windshield of rain, sleet, and other debris that’s blocking our line of vision. If the windshield wipers are worn out, broken, or otherwise not working properly, that means that we cannot see out the front window of our car. When we can’t see, we’re more likely to get into an accident.
Windshield wipers do wear out over time, so try to check them about once a month or if you notice that they’re not clearing the windshield as well as they used to. Replace any damaged wiper blades as soon as possible. Also, be sure that the windshield wiper motors are working properly and that there is plenty of windshield wiper fluid.
Other Mechanical Failures
While mechanical failures may not be the top cause of car accidents, they’re still a major contributing factor. If you don’t keep an eye on your vehicle, these issues could go undetected until it’s too late. It’s a good idea to watch your car’s temperature gauge; if your vehicle overheats or the cooling system malfunctions, your engine may fail. Be sure to regularly change the oil in the vehicle; the oil helps lubricate the metal parts in the engine. Without oil, the engine parts would scrape together, causing excess friction and overheating.
If your engine isn’t working properly, your vehicle is going to stop working and, ultimately, break down. If this happens suddenly, there’s a good chance that you’re going to lose control of the vehicle and get into an accident. The best protection against engine and other mechanical failures in regular, routine vehicle maintenance.
Contact The Champion Firm
If you were in a car accident caused by mechanical failure, you may be able to hold the manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or maintenance technician liable for your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help identify the parties responsible for the crash and advise you on your legal rights. If you’d like to speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys, please reach out to us at 404-596-8044.