Types of Car Accidents: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), estimated around 42,915 deaths from car accidents last year. That’s up a whopping 10.5% from the previous year! If you’re interested in protecting your safety and the safety of those you love, it’s important to understand the different types of car accidents and how they can impact you.
Learn about safety on the road and prepare yourself and your family to avoid them with this thorough guide. When it comes to vehicle safety, knowledge is power.
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The Most Common Types of Car Accidents:
While car accidents happen every day, there are at least 5 very common kinds of collisions that happen more than others. Understand what they are and you can do your best to avoid situations where you may be involved.
The unfortunate truth is, even if a car accident doesn’t prove fatal, they can still cause debilitating and life-altering injuries or trauma. Better to be knowledgeable and as safe as possible.
1. Head-On Collisions:
- Head-on collisions have a very high rate of mortality whether at the scene or later on. Because head-on collisions involve two vehicles traveling towards each other, the momentum involved can be lethal.
- When two vehicles collide head-on, even at small speeds, vehicles can often flip, roll, or crash into other vehicles behind them. The damage can be far-reaching.
- The increased force experienced by both drivers makes head-on collisions commonly viewed as the most dangerous kind of collision.
- Common causes of head-on collisions include distracted driving, drowsy driving, drunk driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While it can be devastating to realize that you have no control over the actions of others on the road with you, you still have power over what you do in the driver’s seat.
- The best you can do to avoid head-on collisions is to be a good driver yourself. This starts with habits such as putting your phone out of reach while driving.
- Everything from fighting kids to coffee cups can become a potential distraction while driving. The key is to anticipate distractions before you hit the road and try and subdue or eliminate them.
- Never drive drunk. Designate a sober driver if you know you’ll be drinking. When in need, call an Uber.
- Do everything you can to avoid distractions while in the car. Get that GPS set up before you start the engine. Select your music playlist before you hit the road.
- Whatever it takes to remove distractions that will pull your eyes and focus off the road while driving, do it.
- That last shot, or urgent text message is never worth the lives of those on the road with you. Including your own.
2. Rear-End Collisions:
- While no car crash is a good car crash, rear-end collisions can more often be minor. This is not always the case and they can be fatal or produce severe injuries. However, minor fender-benders often come from this sort of collision.
- Rear-end collisions most frequently occur during times of high traffic volume. Stop-and-go traffic is basically a landmine for rear-enders. Look away for even a second and even the most attentive drivers can find themselves kissing the bumper of the car ahead of them.
- Red lights, stop signs, or merging lanes are also common scenes for rear-end collisions.
- The NHTSA reports that around 29% of traffic accidents are rear-end collisions and they are also often the result of distracted driving. Texting and smartphones are really the enemy of those wanting to travel safely.
- Avoid looking at your phone, at all costs, while driving. Even if you think you’re safely stopped in traffic and can handle “just glancing quickly” at that message…
- Think of it this way, you are not the exception to the distracted-driving rule. Consider yourself, always, as the rule, and keep your phone put away.
- Fatigue is another common cause of all collisions, not just rear-end crashes. As a general rule, never drive when fatigued. Avoid over-nighter car trips as well.
3. Side-Swipe Accidents:
- Side-swipe collisions are not as common types of car accidents as head-on or rear-end. However, they happen often enough to make this list of the top 5 most common.
- Side-swipe collisions happen when one vehicle collides with the side of another.
- This happens frequently on interstates when a driver neglects to check his/her blind spot before changing lanes. It can also happen when drivers forget to turn on their blinkers to indicate a lane change.
- Again, distracted driving is always a top culprit and many drivers simply don’t notice when another vehicle has pulled up alongside, behind, or within their blind spot.
- Speeding, improper lane changes (like passing on the right), neglecting to stop, and other unsafe driving practices are also leading causes of side-swipe collisions. Your best protection against this type of collision is to follow the rules of safe driving.
- Think back to your driver’s ed course. Always use a blinker. Always check your blind spot.
- Be careful merging.
- Unfortunately, side swipes don’t just happen between two moving vehicles. Many of these collisions happen when a driver hits another parked car.
- Inexperienced or inebriated drivers are often at fault in these types of accidents. Side swipes can happen when a driver underestimates the amount of space needed to park next to another vehicle and scrapes along the side of the car already parked.
- While they may be one of the more embarrassing accidents to be involved in, luckily, they are slightly less likely to prove fatal. Depending on the speed and location (parking lot versus interstate), of the collision, the severity of the damage and danger can vary widely with this kind of crash.
- Discover more about what to do if you become involved in a car accident by talking with an experienced accident attorney. The last thing you need after a painful, costly, and traumatizing accident is to be taken advantage of simply because you didn’t understand all your rights.
4. T-Bone Collisions:
- Three words: right of way. This is the key to preventing many t-bone collisions. Traffic stops are common places for t-bone collisions to occur when one or more drivers fail to adhere to basic traffic rules, namely “right of way.”
- Unfortunately, t-bone collisions can be extremely deadly if they involve large vehicles like trucks or any vehicle traveling at great speed. Drunk driving is one of the more common reasons t-bone collisions occur.
- During a t-bone collision, one driver typically drives through an intersection without stopping for lights, signs, or signals. They collide with another driver who is moving in the opposite direction.
- This collision forms the letter “T” when it takes place.
- In very rare cases where a traffic light or signal was not working, the driver who hits the other vehicle may not be found at fault. If this is the case, government agencies or local governments may be found at fault.
- To avoid these dangerous collisions, do your part. Always allow the vehicle that arrived first at an intersection to proceed first. Go in order of arrival to the stop sign or light.
- Be sure to always come to complete stops at traffic lights or stop signs.
- One classic driver’s ed catchphrase that has long been forgotten but should be upheld is the saying, “Green means go…if clear.”
- Just because you are at a green light does not mean you proceed through an intersection without looking. Green lights should always mean you go, IF clear.
- Never assume it is safe to proceed through an intersection or light just because the light has turned green. Always check in all directions first.
- As with avoiding every other kind of collision, avoid the three D’s of dangerous driving: drunk, drowsy, and distracted. You can’t control the actions of others on the road, but you can drive defensively and always be sharp and alert to protect yourself and those you love.
5. Accidents with Still Objects:
- If you’ve ever been in a vehicle with a teenager, you know that collisions with fixed objects are quite possible. Distracted, immature, or inebriated driving are among the most common causes of accidents with still objects.
- Aggressive driving is another risk. The faster and more recklessly a driver handles a vehicle, the more likely they are to lose control and collide with a standing or still object.
- Still objects that are frequently involved in these kinds of accidents include guard rails, street posts, street signs, driveway walls or pillars, curbs, bridges, trees, or ditches.
- Of course, poor driving or aggression isn’t always the cause of these accidents. Bad weather can play a major role in collisions with still objects.
- Everything from fog, rain, snow, and ice can make driving into a tree or parked car impossible to avoid. The hard truth is that even professional drivers are susceptible to the constraints of weather and natural hazards.
Other Dangerous Types of Accidents:
- While the most common types of car accidents happen between 1-2 vehicles, some of the most devastating accidents involve multiple cars. This is known as a pile-up and there are, fortunately, ways you can avoid becoming entangled in one.
- To begin with, multiple-vehicle collisions often happen on busy roads or freeways.
- The risk of financial and personal loss with these is extreme. Especially if you are at fault.
- Depending on the situation, some vehicles involved may be hit more than once and receive damage in multiple places. Busy traffic and hazardous weather conditions often lead to multiple-vehicle collisions.
- Once two vehicles collide on a busy road where speeds are high, it can be extremely difficult or impossible for oncoming vehicles to stop or swerve to avoid joining the crash.
- Snow and ice are notorious for pilling cars on top of one another as breaking becomes difficult in such weather.
- One of the best methods for avoiding this kind of collision (if you are not one of the 2 initial cars involved), is to leave at least one entire car’s length between your own car and the car in front of you in traffic.
- Having a car’s length distance between you and the next car allows for ample room to break should traffic stop suddenly. Always include a buffer between you and the car you’re following.
- You may not be able to prevent the cars behind you from giving space between them and you, but at least having space in front of your vehicle will ensure resistance and time to slow down the impact if you get hit from behind.
- Whether you’re in a hurry, or stuck in heavy traffic, avoid tailing or driving bumper-to-bumper at all costs. Driving right behind the car ahead of you won’t really get you to your destination any faster and the risk is great.
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The types of car accidents out there are as varied as there are drivers. Despite the high rate of accidents in the United States each year, you don’t have to drive in fear. Learning and practicing safe and wise driving habits can empower you to understand the road around you. It can arm you with sound skills to drive safely and defensively to avoid reckless or dangerous situations on the road.
You may not be able to avoid the risky behavior of others at all times, but educating yourself and sticking to safe driving behaviors can only help and may just end up saving you from car accidents in the future. For more helpful car tips and advice, browse the General Guide portion of our blog. Safe travels!
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