Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in South Carolina

In South Carolina, there was a traffic accident every 3.6 minutes during 2021 – and these collisions often resulted in property damage, physical injury, and sometimes, even death. As a personal injury attorney, I have seen firsthand how an accident can disrupt a client’s life. I help people take control of their cases by seeking full compensation for the suffering and disruption they’ve had to endure.

Driver-related errors were the largest primary contributing factors for 92% of all traffic collisions in 2021. Of the top eight leading causes of car accidents in South Carolina for 2021, the SC Department of Public Safety reported that only one factor (animal in road) was not driver-related.

Here are the top eight most common causes of car accidents in S.C. traffic collisions.

Chart detailing the top 8 contributing factors to traffic accidents in South Carolina.

In South Carolina, driver error plays a significant role in determining the amount of damages you may be owed after a wreck. According to state law, your potential recovery will be reduced by the percentage of negligence, or fault, assigned to you. If you are injured by another driver, your attorney helps you try to establish that the fault is completely theirs.

Too often, I’ve heard stories from clients about the trauma of their accidents being compounded by unfair treatment by the insurance company.  If you have been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, call us today at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. We have the experience and resources to fight the insurance company for maximum compensation for you.

#1 Common Cause of Accidents in S.C. Is Speeding

Icon of a speedometer showing dangerous speeding.Driving too fast for road and weather conditions was the #1 contributing factor to accidents in 2021, and it resulted in 284 deaths and 13,822 injured people in South Carolina.

We all know the excuses for speeding – people may be running late, accelerating to get out of traffic, or even responding to an emergency. But those reasons do not eliminate, or excuse, the fact that speeding can cause accidents.

Driving too fast for conditions reduces reaction times which endangers drivers, passengers, nearby pedestrians, and those in other vehicles. Was the driver that injured you speeding? Your attorney can check to see if your accident report includes the estimated speed of the other driver.

#2 Common Cause of Accidents in S.C. Is Failure to Yield

Icon of a YIELD road sign.Intersections are often the scene of car accidents when one or more drivers fail to yield the right of way. Because accident reports are not always accurate, my firm has accident investigators who often go to the scene of the accident and can follow up with any eyewitnesses to research who had the right of way and who failed to yield. We also have a “triage” team that can search for evidence that might strengthen your claim and any additional insurance coverages that may apply.

Tip: Time is of the essence because insurance companies can move quickly, evidence can be lost, and witnesses can lose contact or forget.

#3 Common Cause of Accidents in S.C. Is Improper Lane Changes and Merging

Icon of an arrow and a car depicting an improper lane change.Another common driver error that results in accidents occurs when reckless drivers weave in and out of lanes or merge onto highways without signaling or checking their blind spots. Motorcycles and cars are both at risk when another driver cuts them off while changing lanes or refuses to allow them to merge. These are dangerous behaviors, and they can cause wrecks.

#4 Common Cause of Accidents in S.C. Is Tailgating

Warning about following a vehicle too closely.Aggressive driving behavior such as following too closely (also called tailgating) can result in rear-end accidents. The SC Department of Public Safety indicated that the 2nd highest “action prior to impact” was “slowing or stopped in traffic,” meaning tailgating was the cause of many of these traffic collisions.

#5 Common Cause of Accidents in S.C. Is Distracted Driving

A ringing cell phone causing a distraction.Texting, eating, adjusting the radio, or engaging in any activity that diverts attention from the road can lead to accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports on its website that cell phone usage has now become the most common distraction. South Carolina averages a crash every hour where the primary contributing factor was reported as distracted, inattentive driving.

#6 Common Cause of Accidents in S.C. Is Animal in the Road

Icon of a deer in the middle of a road.One of the most common causes of car accidents in South Carolina is collisions with a white-tailed deer. During the breeding season, many vehicles collide with them during the dawn and dusk hours. At these times, deer are on the move and commuters are en route to or from work.


Tip: Crashes caused by an animal in the road can be complex. If the animal is wild, such as a deer, these situations typically are considered no-fault, but if the animal is domestic, the owner may be found liable. For example, if livestock or pets that are supposed to be kept behind a gate escape and cause a wreck, the owner may be held liable. This is why it is important to call and discuss your accident with an attorney.

#7 Common Cause of Accidents in S.C. Is Disregarding Signs and Signals

Icon of a traffic light with an exclamation point.Running red lights and ignoring stop signs can lead to intersection accidents – and drivers, passengers, and pedestrians can be severely injured. Often when a driver decides to run a red light, they accelerate in an attempt to beat the yellow light, and the resulting collision occurs with more force.


Tip: South Carolina is one of a seven states that has a statute prohibiting the use of red-light cameras to issue citations. This makes it important to have a car accident attorney on your side who has experience in building cases effectively and can help you try to prove the fault of the other driver.

#8 Common Cause of Accidents in S.C. Is DUI

Icon of a beer bottle and bottle of medication, representing alcohol & drug consumption.Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication can impair a driver’s reaction time and judgment, which can lead to crashes. In South Carolina, a driver can be charged with DUI (driving under the influence) and DUAC (driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration) for these actions.

When another driver puts your safety at risk by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you want a skilled and experienced car accident attorney who knows South Carolina laws and who will fight for your rights.

Tip: While you may be eligible for compensatory damages (damages to make you whole) in a typical car accident case, you may also be eligible for punitive damages (damages awarded to punish the defendant) when you are the victim of a drunk or impaired driver. An experienced attorney who is familiar with SC law can help you fight for punitive damages.

How Can the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin Help Me After a Car Wreck?

The insurance company would be happy to deal with you by yourself – without an attorney at your side. Most are for profit businesses, and they make more by paying you less. It’s as simple as that.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company may think they have an advantage over you because they work on claims day-in and day-out. But our mission is to level the playing field for you.

Our attorneys can help you by:

  • Helping protect your rights and dealing with the insurance company
  • Fighting for maximum compensation
  • Building your case and knowing what to seek compensation for
  • Shouldering the legal burden so you can focus on your recovery

It’s important for all drivers to exercise caution, obey traffic laws, and practice safe driving behaviors to reduce the risk of accidents in South Carolina. But when they don’t, and you are a victim of their recklessness, it’s important to have an attorney on your side who knows South Carolina law and has the resources and experience to help you.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we put your needs first. Always. Since 1997, we’ve recovered more than $1.8 billion in total compensation for 65,000+ people.1

And you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can afford to hire an attorney. At my firm, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay us an attorney’s fee unless we recover for you. Guaranteed.2

For a free professional opinion on your South Carolina accident claim, call us at 1-866-900-7078 or visit us online today.