10 Common Causes of Car Accidents in NZ

Date Jul 13, 2020
Blog category Car Insurance
By Michael Speight


According to the NZ Transport Agency, with data collected through their Crash Analysis Systems (CAS), nearly 12,500 people were injured through motor vehicle accidents in 2016 alone.

Sadly, this resulted in 286 fatal road crashes and 328 fatalities.

Protect yourself with car insurance

While it’s important to be vigilant on NZ roads, there are many things drivers can be aware of to reduce the number of car accidents across the country.

Below, we’ll look at the 10 most common causes of these incidents, so you can stay safe on our roads. We’ll also show you how to compare car insurance NZ wide so if an accident does happen, you are protected.

1. Speeding

Speeding is, without a doubt, one of the leading contributors to fatal car crashes.

The faster a car is travelling, the greater the impact will be in the event of an accident.

Even travelling 10 kilometres per hour above the designated speed limit can present a much greater risk of a crash than driving at the correct speed. 


While it might be frustrating to drive at a low speed on the open road when there are no other cars around, speed limits are put in place for a reason.

If you want to do your part in reducing the crash statistics on New Zealand roads, staying within the speed limit is something to be aware of every time you get behind the wheel.  

2. Drunk Driving

There’s no denying that New Zealand has a prominent drinking culture. Whether it’s beers after the rugby or a weekend away at a winery, Kiwis aren’t shy about knocking back the occasional alcoholic beverage.

However, driving while intoxicated is not only irresponsible – it’s a leading cause of road accidents.

If you want to be a considerate Kiwi driver – and a caring friend – make sure you and your mates only drive when you’re completely sober. 

3. Distracted Driving

With so much going on in the world today, and our tendency to always have our phones nearby, it’s easy for drivers to be distracted.

Distractions can occur both inside and outside the vehicle – which is why it’s important to always stay focussed on the road ahead.

During your early morning commute and late at night, exercise caution toward your environment; avoid letting your eyes drift to billboards and never check your phone while stuck in traffic. 

4. Not driving to the conditions

New Zealand is home to a range of weather conditions – from the scorching summer heat of the upper North Island, to the snow-capped mountains of the South Island.

A change in weather conditions means adjusting your driving style when hitting the road. Drive with extra care when the roads are wet, and don’t rush to take corners where you may lose control.

Shaving a few seconds off your commute by driving fast in the rain or snow isn’t worth causing a potentially fatal accident. 

5. Running stop signs and red lights

If nobody else is around, is it really that bad to drive through a red light or a stop sign? The answer should be obvious to any considerate driver – as you never know if the driver of another vehicle is thinking the exact same thing.

No matter the time of day or how urgently you might need to be somewhere, never drive through a red light, stop sign or give way sign when you shouldn’t.

Even cheap car insurance packages won’t protect you from negligent driving.

6. Unsafe lane changing

In the same breath as speeding and distracted driving, unsafe lane changing can quickly cause an accident, either for your own vehicle or for one in the lane you’re moving to.

The road rules state three seconds of indicating before switching lanes – this provides other vehicles with adequate time to notice what you’re intending to do, and adjust their speed or approach when you being to change lanes.

Don’t assume other drivers will be as cautious or alert as you are, take the time to indicate properly to avoid a car accident.

7. Tailgating

Driving too close to another car – known as tailgating – is almost guaranteed to cause an accident over time.

Generally, drivers who tailgate are also the ones who have difficulty sticking to the speed limit, drive carelessly in poor conditions and are distracted by needing to get somewhere fast. 


Don’t put your schedule over someone else’s safety, and remember that tailgating doesn’t just increase the likelihood of a car accident – many drivers can become nervous and distracted when someone is driving too close behind their vehicle, which only doubles the chance of a crash.

8. Road Rage

Following on from tailgating above, we’ve probably all experienced road rage in one form or another.

While it’s tempting to express this frustration by yelling at another driver or sitting on your horn behind someone driving slower than you’d like, road rage is another cause of distraction, taking your focus away from the road and reducing awareness of your surroundings. 

9. Tyre Blowouts

Regular car maintenance is important to keep your vehicle running smoothly and in optimal condition.

While you may not take your car for a service as regular as recommended, there are some simple checks you can do yourself at home.

Assessing the health of your car tyres not only reduces the risk of a sudden and unexpected blowout, but can eliminate the need for expensive roadside assistance.

Furthermore, a wheel blowout can quickly cause a car accident, especially if the driver is disregarding any of the above safe-driving tips at the same time. 

10. Loose objects in cars

If you’ve ever used your car to shift items while moving house, you’ll know that a sudden reduction in speed can cause havoc with loose objects.

While the above situation isn’t incredibly common, what’s more likely is that your car is filled with bottles or items that may come into contact with your accelerator or brake pedal.

Keeping your car clean of objects doesn’t just present a nicer image, it makes your vehicle safer for you and everyone else on the road. 


While the above tips are fantastic ways to stay safe on the roads, accidents can and do still happen.

If you want to protect your car in the event of an accident, you can use glimp to compare car insurance quotes in New Zealand.

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