Do Most Car Accidents Really Happen Close to Home?

When people are within a few miles of where they live, they tend to relax and become complacent behind the wheel. Unfortunately, just because you are close to home does not mean that you are safe from being involved in a car accident. In fact, according to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, over 50% of all fatal and injury-causing collisions take place within 25 miles of the victim’s home at speeds of less than 40 miles per hour. If you were injured in a car crash close to home, you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible. The Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been advocating for maximum compensation on behalf of their injured clients since 1985. If you are unsure whether or not you have a valid claim, schedule a free case review with one of our skilled lawyers to discuss your situation.  

Why Do So Many Car Accidents Happen Close to Home?

Many drivers are involved in accidents close to where they live for multiple reasons. Some of the most common causes are:  

Familiarity With the Route

When driving through an area you are familiar with, like your neighborhood, it is normal to feel relaxed. Traveling along the exact same route almost every single day increases the odds of a driver spacing out behind the wheel. Drivers often drop their guard and get a little too comfortable, which can result in them not paying attention to their surroundings.  


When traveling a familiar route, drivers are more likely to send text messages or make phone calls. They might start analyzing the events of the day or thinking about what they are going to make for dinner. Distracted driving, which includes letting your mind wander, can cause you not to notice an unexpected event, such as someone dashing out in front of your car or backing out of a driveway. You could even unintentionally run a red light or stop sign, causing you to strike another driver who has the right-of-way.  

Area Traffic

Residential traffic patterns vary considerably from those on interstates or other heavily traveled roadways. They usually have more intersections, pedestrian crossings, and stop signs. Although these places are designed as a convenience for those riding bicycles or getting around on foot, they also provide numerous opportunities for distracted drivers to cause accidents. 


As people make their way from high-speed highways to residential streets, they have to adjust their speed several times. When a driver becomes overly familiar with a particular route, they might not observe all changes to the speed limit. Driving too fast through some areas, like school zones and neighborhoods, or near a school, could lead to a crash.

Driveways and Street Parking

Most residential roads have obstacles, such as cars parked along the curb and drivers turning into and backing out of driveways. These impediments mean drivers need to be extra cautious. Failure to pay attention could cause them to collide with a cyclist, vehicle, or pedestrian.  


Unfortunately, feeling fatigued or drowsy does not stop drivers from getting behind the wheel. This is especially true of people who work overnight jobs or even those just getting off of a long day of work. Studies have shown that fatigue greatly impacts a driver’s reaction times as well as their judgment. 

How Can I Avoid a Car Accident Close to Home?

Some key tips that could help to reduce your risk of getting into an auto accident close to home include:

  • Do not become careless just because you are familiar with an area. As you approach your neighborhood, stay off your phone, turn your music down, and pay attention to your surroundings.  
  • Obey all driving laws, such as speed limits, regardless of your location.  
  • Be on alert when passing driveways as someone may be backing out or pulling in.  
  • Keep an eye out for children and animals in the roadway or darting out of driveways. Young children do not always look before chasing a ball or riding a bike across the street.  
  • If possible, avoid street parking. This lowers your risk of your car being hit by another driver.  
  • If you have to make a short trip, consider walking rather than driving.  

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Drivers owe a duty of care to other roadway users, whether they are other drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists. This means they are expected to obey all driving laws and act with the safety of others in mind. Although you might exercise every reasonable caution, a car accident close to home can still happen. The most important thing to do after a car accident is to seek immediate medical attention. This will help protect your health even if you think you are unharmed. Being seen by a doctor will also create a medical paper trail that can be used as critical evidence that your injuries were caused by the accident. That is how we were able to secure a $50,000 settlement award for one client whose pre-existing shoulder injury was greatly exacerbated when she was struck by a negligent driver. 

If you were injured in a car accident, whether it was close to your home or not, contact the experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn, and Sharp to schedule a free consultation by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out the contact form on our website. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.