According to the Bureau of Transportation, around 13 car accidents happen per minute — making them the leading cause of traffic nationwide.
Contributing to 25% of traffic jams, car accidents are a consistent source of traffic. Whether it’s a pile-up or a fender bender, accidents can cause congestion or full stops on the road.
Most common during the summer, work zones tend to cause congestion through lane closures, detours and decreased speed limits.
Not only do work zones slow traffic and create congestion, but research shows that they’re also a leading cause of traffic accidents. From 2015 to 2022, the number of fatalities related to work zones was over 35,000. There was also a 21% increase from 2020 to 2022.
Even the cities with the best weather experience periods of heavy rain from time to time. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average driving speed typically decreases from 3% to 16% during heavy rain, and heavy snow can decrease speeds from 5% to 40%.
Flooding, as well as debris that’s blown onto the road from heavy winds, can additionally increase traffic. Like construction zones, harsh weather conditions lead to more car accidents — and thus, more traffic.
While you may think of saturation as just a fancy way of saying “traffic,” it’s actually an official term used in traffic engineering. Saturation refers to the maximum amount of traffic a specific junction can handle, whether it's an interstate, highway or simple roadway.
When the amount of vehicles on a roadway exceeds its capacity, slowdowns naturally begin. Even if there’s not an accident on the roadway, saturation will naturally occur purely because of the ratio of vehicles to available space.
Research shows that distracted driving is a factor in over 8% of accidents, making it one of the leading causes of car accidents and thus a primary cause of traffic.
Not only does distracted driving pose a risk to the safety of drivers, but it can also interrupt the flow of traffic and create congestion. Cell phones or other tech can cause drivers to lose track of their spacing, causing fender benders that lead to stoppages.