The Most Common Types Of Car Accidents: And What To Do If You are in One
Last updated Monday, June 21st, 2021
Here is an explanation of some of the most common types of car accidents. Plus, what you should do if you’re involved in one.
Likely one of the most common types of car accidents, rear-end collisions are an all-too-familiar side effect of rush-hour traffic. Usually caused when one vehicle fails to brake or slides forward due to poor road conditions. A rear-end crash damage can be as minimal as a dented fender or as serious as a fatality.
When not the result of poor tire traction, rear-end crashes are often caused by distracted driving, sudden stops, tailgating, or a combination. In some crashes, the question of who is at fault can be especially difficult to answer. In these cases, it’s important for the drivers involved to get a police report. Additionally, they should enlist the help of an experienced auto accident lawyer.
A “T-Bone” collision—also known as a broad impact collision or right-angle collision—is a type of side-impact collision in which one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle at a roughly perpendicular angle. This creates a “T” shape indent, hence the nickname.
Because the impact occurs in the side of the car, there’s not much material between the impacting vehicle and the individual(s) inside. If the vehicle strikes an area where the driver or a passenger is sitting, a “T-bone” collision can have long-lasting and even fatal consequences.
Another one of the most common types of car accidents is a side-impact collision. This is what some refer to as a “side-swipe” or “glancing blow” collision. In this type of collision, the arrangement of the vehicles involved is more parallel than perpendicular. As a result, the sides of both cars can sustain major damage. Plus, the drivers may even lose control of their vehicles.
A side-swipe accident can often also be classified as a lane departure accident, as merging into another lane without looking is a common cause of side-swipes.
Collisions with Animals
Most common at night, collisions involving animals crossing or standing on the road happen on an unfortunately regular basis. These often involve creatures like deer. Many such animal-related crashes tend to occur when the animal appears suddenly on the road as it attempts to cross. Because the reaction time of the driver is very limited in these situations, the resulting crash can be disastrous for all involved. Not to mention the vehicle.
One thing to be aware of when you’ve hit a deer is that you may not want to skip a police report. Because these kinds of collisions occur somewhat regularly, there’s a chance you might hit a deer again. Therefore, you need to prove to your insurance company that you’re not making any fraudulent claims. And, if you find yourself fighting with them, it’s time to contact a car accident lawyer.
Other animals commonly involved in collisions include birds, raccoons, dogs, and cats, all of which pose their own unique problems. In the case of domestic dogs and cats, an animal collision can be an emotional battle. Especially when dealing with both insurance companies and grieving pet owners.
Lane Departure Crashes
Whether it occurs due to a vehicle malfunction, an intoxicated driver, or a medical emergency, a lane departure crash can be particularly dangerous. “Lane departure” is just what it sounds like—an incident in which a vehicle leaves its lane of traffic. This could include a person drifting from one lane into another. Or, it could be a car drifting to the outside and leaving the road entirely.
In the case of two-way roads on which traffic travels in both directions, a lane departure can very quickly turn into a head-on collision.
One of the most deadly types of crashes, a head-on collision can be terrifying for the drivers, the drivers’ friends, and family, and even the first responders on the scene. Head-on crashes are often a result of a person unknowingly driving on the wrong side of the road due to intoxication, distraction, or a medical emergency. They can be especially lethal when they occur at highway speeds.
Collisions with Pedestrians or Cyclists
This type of crash is different than the others due to the involvement of especially vulnerable human beings. Obviously, pedestrians and cyclists aren’t as well protected from the impact of a car crash as the driver of another vehicle. For this reason, it’s likely that the person who’s been hit will hire a personal injury lawyer. This will help him or her cover any resulting medical bills that aren’t covered by insurance.
If you find yourself in the role of the driver in a pedestrian or cyclist crash, you should consider hiring your own accident lawyer to represent you. This is regardless of who was at fault.
A single-vehicle collision is one in which the crash does not involve any other vehicles. When a car is traveling significantly beyond the posted speed limit, especially in rough road conditions, it’s possible for the driver to quickly lose control. This could cause the vehicle to spin out, collide with a barrier, or rollover.
Because there’s only one driver involved, the legal consequences of a single-vehicle crash differ somewhat from other types. When the driver loses control of the vehicle and hits a piece of property, he or she may have to pay damages to the owner of that property.
If only the vehicle has damage, the policyholder for the vehicle may find themselves battling with his or her insurance company regarding coverage. If the driver sustains injuries in a crash as a result of a vehicle malfunction, he or she may hire an injury lawyer to assist with the coverage of medical bills.
Speeding Car Accidents
Speeding is common—we’ve all likely done it at some point. You’re late for work in the morning or trying to get to the post office before it closes, or you just lose track of how fast you’re driving and before you know it your speed has crept up 10, 15, or 20 miles per hour above the speed limit. However, there’s a good reason for speed limits—the faster your car is moving through physical space, the more difficult it is to avoid a collision and maintain control of your vehicle. Here are some statistics about speeding car accidents.
Speeding Facts and Statistics
Indeed, speeding is a leading cause of accidents in the U.S. In 2012, there were a total of 33,561 traffic fatalities across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); 30 percent of those (10,219) were related to speeding.
In 2012, there were a total of 956 total traffic-related fatalities in Illinois – 40 percent of those (387) were related to speeding—a significantly higher percentage than the national average.
Driving too fast is a problem for many reasons. Among them:
- Speeding makes it more difficult to react to hazards.
- Traveling at excess speed makes it difficult to stop in enough time to prevent a collision.
- Speeding increases the chances of losing control of the vehicle, especially around curves and when roads are slick from ice, rain, snow, or sleet.
- Speeding increases the likelihood of severe injury in a collision.
Alcohol and Speeding
Alcohol is also frequently a factor in speeding-related car accidents. In 2012, 42 percent of fatal crashes involved speeding drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08g/dL (the legal limit in Illinois). Alcohol impairs judgment which can and does lead people to drive well over the speed limit.
While driving five or 10 miles over the speed limit may not significantly increase a person’s risk of collision, depending on the circumstances (e.g. driving on a rural highway with few cars), excessive speeding is never a good idea. What constitutes excessive speeding?
While speed laws vary from one state to another, generally speaking, the faster a person drives over the speed limit, the higher the likely penalties. Some states treat excessive speeding as reckless driving—a separate offense that could result in significant penalties.
Almost without exception, driving 100 miles per hour or more is considered excessive and will result in fines, points on a person’s driver’s license (between 2 and 4, depending on the state), mandatory driver’s education, and possibly the license suspension and/or jail time.
The Many Dangers Of Speeding
At the Law Offices of Shuman Legal, we’ve witnessed first-hand the dangers of speeding. We’ve seen families torn apart after losing a loved one. Plus, we’ve watched countless clients recover from devastating injuries. We’ve represented people whose lives were ruined by one poor choice. We’ve seen all sides of the equation—the regret of the guilty parties and the pain of their innocent victims.
No one thinks it will happen to them and yet every year a quarter of all accidents involve speeding. Every time you drive above the speed limit, every time you drive faster than conditions permit, the likelihood of an accident goes up. Every accident brings with it the potential for serious injury and death. The few minutes you might save—the brief thrill of acceleration—hardly make up for the risks. Therefore, the next time you’re rushed or feeling heavy-footed, remember the consequences and slow down.
Take a look at our latest infographic to learn about the many dangers of speeding.
Hydroplaning Car Accidents
Driving in the rain or snow can be a challenge. Poor visibility and adverse road conditions can lead to serious accidents. In Illinois alone, nearly 1,000 people died in 2015 as a result of traffic crashes. Since education is the first step toward prevention, it’s important to understand the risks of driving in bad weather and especially, how to avoid hydroplaning car accidents.
What Is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning and snow car accidents are some of the most common weather-related incidents. When a vehicle hydroplanes, it slides or skids across a wet road. It happens when the front tires lose traction due to excess water buildup. In other words, you hydroplane when your tires can no longer grip the road because the ground is too wet.
Hydroplaning car accidents can be among the most frightening. Since they often involve a complete loss of control, people can feel helpless behind the wheel. Thankfully, there are some basic safety tips you can follow to lower your risk of hydroplaning.
Are You At Risk Of Hydroplaning?
Anyone who drives in the rain or snow is at risk of losing traction. Since most of us drive in inclement weather, that means most of us face the threat of hydroplaning and therefore of weather car accidents.
You are in particular danger when it first begins to rain. That’s because new rain mixes with oil and dirt residue on the asphalt to create an extremely slippery surface. After enough time, the rain washes away the oil, leaving the road less slippery. Those first five to ten minutes of rainfall are therefore the most critical moments and should be treated with caution.
Other factors such as speed, tire tread depth, and water depth can also increase your chances of losing control. In order to determine your risk of hydroplaning, ask yourself a few questions:
- How fast are you going?
- Are your tires worn?
- How deep is the water?
The faster you go, the more worn your tires and the deeper the water—the more risk you face.
What To do To Prevent Inclement Weather Accidents
The best way to prevent your car from hydroplaning is to slow down and drive carefully. By reducing your speed, you significantly reduce the odds of losing traction. Ensuring that your tires have sufficient tread is also critical. If you don’t know how to check the tread on your tires, take it to a professional and ask them for an expert opinion.
What Not To Do In Inclement Weather
It goes without saying that you should never speed or drive recklessly at any time, but particularly when the weather conditions are unfavorable. Anything from drunk driving to distracted driving can dramatically increase the danger to yourself and to others.
Of course, sometimes even the best drivers temporarily lose traction when the roads are wet. If you do notice that your car is beginning to slip or slide, there are few things you should avoid doing. Specifically, do not:
- Brake suddenly
- Accelerate quickly
Three Shocking Holiday Automobile Accident Facts
During the holiday season, millions of Americans will take to the highways and interstates to travel home to spend the holidays with their families or to vacation destinations. Unfortunately, some of these travelers will be involved in traffic accidents. In fact, holiday automobile accident facts can be quite alarming.
Motor vehicle crashes typically spike during times of the year when more drivers are on the road. These accidents often end in litigation, as car accident lawyers are retained to ensure their clients receive the appropriate compensation.
Consider these three facts about holiday season crashes and injuries:
1. AAA estimates that about 28,000 Americans will sustain serious injuries in auto accidents during the holiday season.
2. The National Safety Council estimates that 343 people die in auto accidents during the three-day Christmas holiday each year. About 373 people on average die in auto accidents during the New Year’s Day holiday period.
3. Automobile accidents involving alcohol skyrocket 71 percent during the New Year’s Day holiday according to safeauto.com.
Travelers can avoid the pain, stress, and potential tragedy involved in a holiday auto accident by avoiding drinking and driving and by practicing smart driving habits on the road. Travelers should avoid speeding, be sure to follow all traffic rules, don’t text and drive or participate in any other distraction while driving and exercise caution in inclement weather.
For those drivers who do become involved in a holiday auto accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.
Four Most Common Causes Of Automobile Fatalities
Automobile fatalities have wide-ranging consequences for the families of those involved, causing unimaginable emotional and financial hardship. Furthermore, nearly 29,000 people die each year in traffic fatalities, many of which can be classified as wrongful death accidents because of the negligence of another party.
Some of the most common causes of automobile fatalities include:
1. Drunk driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol greatly reduces a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Furthermore, in 2014, nearly a third of all fatal car accidents resulted from alcohol-impaired driving crashes.
2. Distracted driving. Drivers who are distracted are a major cause of car accidents in America. Furthermore, distracted driving can have a more deleterious effect on a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle than drunk driving.
3. Speed. Speeding greatly increases the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident and also greatly increases the chance of a severe accident. Therefore, the faster you drive, the slower your reaction time is. Plus, the greater the force of impact will be if a collision occurs.
4. Traffic violations. Running stop signs or red lights or failing to yield are all common causes of automobile accidents. This includes fatal accidents and pedestrian injuries.
If someone you love has been involved in a fatal automobile accident, there are legal remedies you can pursue. Especially if this accident was as a result of the negligence of another party. Furthermore, speaking to an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you pursue the options available. This will allow you to receive compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other damages you’re entitled to receiving.
How to Avoid All Types Of Car Accidents
Although a car crash isn’t something a person expects to happen, you can prepare yourself for the possibility. The following are a few tips you can employ while on the road to avoid an accident altogether:
- Avoid driving when you’re extremely tired or otherwise distracted. Even if you’re completely sober, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel. Not unless you’re fully aware and capable of reacting to your surroundings at a fairly normal speed.
- Make sure all side- and rear-view mirrors are correct and clean. It’s vitally important to have a clear view of the road and vehicles around you on all sides. This means that you can change lanes safely and be aware of other cars’ movements.
- Keep your vehicle in good working condition (brakes, tires, alignment, etc.). This will ensure that you have optimal control of it on the road and can stop or maneuver as necessary.
- Obey all traffic laws. Signal all turns and lane changes, avoid excessive speed, check over your shoulder when merging, etc. By staying within the law, you’ll ensure that even if you’re in an accident, it won’t be due to your negligence.
And, though this should go without saying:
- Don’t drive drunk or impaired by other substances. This greatly reduces your reaction time and ability to control your vehicle and is, of course, highly illegal. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have fatal consequences for you and other drivers.
Three Ways Scammers Stage Car Accidents
Most people try to avoid car accidents, but to some criminals, an accident is a way to make cash by filing bogus accident claims. These scammers actively cause accidents to occur, meticulously planning and executing driving maneuvers to cause a wreck and then manipulating the other party into statements or actions that may give rise to a claim.
Car accident lawyers can help innocent victims battle bogus claims, but drivers need to be aware of potential scams.
Some common types of accident scams include:
1. T-bone accidents – In these accidents, criminals will wait for a victim to drive through an intersection and then drive into the side of the victim’s vehicle causing a T-bone accident. The criminal will often have bogus witnesses who will claim that the accident occurred because the victim ran a stop sign or traffic signal.
2. Brake slam – In this phony accident, the criminal will get right in front of the victim’s vehicle and then slam on the brakes so that the other driver rear-ends his or her vehicle.
3. Swoop and stop – This is a modification to the brake slam that works to make an accident even less avoidable. The lead car will get in front of the victim’s vehicle and slam on the brakes. At the same time, another vehicle will simultaneously pull alongside the victim’s vehicle. This prevents the victim from avoiding the accident.
Bogus accident scam artists tend to target some types of drivers more often than others. People who drive luxury vehicles and older drivers are at higher risk than others, of being targeted by scam artists. The best defense against bogus claims is solid documentation of the accident and contact your attorney. The police report, images of the accident, credible witnesses, and an accident attorney are all important.
Getting Compensation Through An Auto Accident Lawyer
If you’re in an auto accident, you’ll want to do everything possible to make sure you’re getting compensation for the money you’re owed in damages. An auto accident lawyer can tell you that not taking the accident seriously and not following through on all of the proper steps to file your claim can cost you.
Being knowledgeable about some of the more common mistakes that people make after an auto accident can help make sure you receive full compensation for your injuries.
While you might not need to contact an auto accident lawyer after a minor accident, you should always file a police report. Seemingly minor damage could potentially cause major problems with your car or your health later on. If any other drivers involved in the auto accident decide to sue you, a police report will be very important. It might be just the thing to keep you from losing thousands of dollars. Both in terms of your compensation and the amount of the settlement you owe for the lawsuit.
Any auto accident attorney will tell you that every auto accident demands that you exchange insurance information with the other drivers. No matter how minor the damage may be. Injuries involving soft tissue damage aren’t always readily apparent right after your accident, so it’s vital that you get the insurance information of all motorists involved in the accident in case you later decide to file suit for damages.
An experienced lawyer will be well-versed in traffic law and can save you the time and stress of having to deal with police reports, insurance companies, and court proceedings on your own. Before you make any legal decisions regarding your traffic accident, reach out to an attorney to discuss the details of your case and learn what expert legal counsel can do for you.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a personal injury accident, contact us at (800) 722-9744 now to Speak To An Experienced Injury Lawyer for free.