Go ahead, try to guess. I want you to tell me what the number one cause of car accidents is. If you’re around the Houston area, you see your share of an accident, more than your share most likely, so what is the cause? What happened?

Here’s a chance to play detective, to be a car crash investigator, a Sherlock Holmes of the automotive collision.

So what is it?

I bet most of you guessed alcohol. I can’t fault you for it. That is definitely one of the top contenders, but if you went with drinking and driving, you’re wrong.

What else you got?

Teenager drivers? Nope, you’re a little cooler now. Ditto with elderly drivers. Though both are responsible for quite a few accidents here and elsewhere, they aren’t the biggest risk to your life and limb when you’re out on the road.

What about those reckless drivers, you might be saying, the ones running red lights, driving too fast, riding my bumper from my driveway all the way to work?

Again, a great guess, but you’ve missed the bullseye.

Okay, I’ll give you a break. The biggest, number one cause of car accidents is…

Distracted drivers.

That’s right. It’s you, every time you turn around to yell at the kids or pick up the phone while driving. It’s you when you mess with the music on your phone or try to text. Being distracted is just that dangerous. It leads to a great deal of pain, suffering, injury, money, and death.

You know all that, probably, about accidents, but just think for a moment not so much about the great horror of death and injuries, which we somehow dismiss from our minds when we’re driving, think instead about the money.

Money has been a great factor in keeping me from getting distracted, simply because most of my driving takes place going to or coming from work.

When I think about the potential costs that would accumulate after just a few seconds of distraction, and then I compare it to my salary…I put my phone down, keep my eyes on the road, and put my hands at ten and two.

Because we are talking about millions, people. Millions of dollars could be owed to that car you run into in the next lane. Even if everyone walks away, even if the car you hit wasn’t expensive or wasn’t totaled, you could still owe a lot of money, and you shouldn’t just assume your insurance will cover 100% of it.

There are lawyers who make whole, very lucrative careers out of ruining the financial lives of you and me because we were in a text argument with our spouses while we were driving. Taking cases against distracted drivers is good business if you’re a lawyer. You’ll keep that money rolling in.

So how did you do, Sherlock? Did you get to the answer before this post? And how often do you drive distracted? Remember, next time you grab for that phone, you may have to grab for your wallet instead.