If drivers in California are careful and follow traffic laws, they can reduce their risk for an accident. In the U.S., car crashes kill thousands of people every year, and most of them are due to human error. The following are some of the most common errors that lead to accidents.

At the top is distracted driving. Smartphones, navigation systems and touchscreens are making drivers more distracted than ever, but in reality, any activity that takes one’s eyes off the road is distracting. That includes eating, drinking and adjusting the air conditioning. A second common error is drunk driving. Alcohol intoxication impairs one’s ability to focus and make good judgment calls, which endangers everyone on the road.

Third is reckless driving, especially speeding. Drivers should remember that the faster they travel, the longer it will take to slow down. If they are speeding, they may not have time to avoid obstacles on the road. Other examples of reckless behavior include tailgating, quickly changing lanes and ignoring traffic signs.

Ignoring red lights, in particular, is dangerous. Lastly, drivers err when they travel through heavy rain, snow and dense fog as if they were traveling in normal weather. Bad weather brings with it slick roads and limited visibility.

After a car crash, one of the first things that victims will want to do is determine the degree of fault of each party. This determines whether they can file a personal injury claim. One important step that victims might want to consider is to get a case evaluation. A lawyer, if hired, may help build up the case with evidence gathered by investigators and even handle negotiations for a settlement. A successful claim might cover victims for medical expenses, lost wages and more.