Most Common Types of Car Accidents

Every accident is as unique as the causes leading to it. There are however accident patterns: where and how a vehicle is hit may determine who was at fault and the severity of the injuries.

Although cars are safer than ever, they’re also faster and require less driver engagement.

Severe crashes usually involve roadway or lane departure. This means one vehicle at least crosses an edge line or a centerline, or otherwise leaves the traveled way.

1Head-on collision: number one in fatalities

Two vehicles driving in opposite directions crash front to front: it’s a head-on collision. Contrary to popular belief, the speed of the two vehicles don’t add-up (2 cars colliding at 50 mph are not the equivalent of one car hitting a concrete wall at 100 mph)

However, head-on crashes are deadly because:

  • occupants’ bodies keep moving forward with very high kinetic energy. This causes severe whiplash and spine injuries and, without a seatbelt, ejection from the vehicle through the windshield.
  • the front part of the vehicle may crush the inside of the cabin, causing devastating injuries.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, head-on crashes account for 57% of passenger vehicle deaths in 2019.

The top causes of car accidents are often the result of another drivers negligence.  As is the case with head on collisions, where distracted driving is the main cause, with vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Other reasons are wrong-way driving and defective equipment (brake failure, steering outage). They’re also more frequent in rural areas.

2Vehicle rollover: the most likely to be deadly

A rollover accident occurs when a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof.

Rollovers are rare. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) they only represent 2.1% of car accidents. They however account for 35% of all vehicle crash casualties.

Most rollovers are tripped, meaning an external object (curb, ditch, slope, guard rail, other vehicles, etc.) makes the car tip over. The higher the vehicle and center of mass, the higher risk: SUVs, vans, and trailers are more likely to roll over.

Data shows that 85% of rollover deaths are the result of single-vehicle crashes.

Rear End Accident Car & Truck

3Rear-end collision: the most common

These crashes occur when the front of one car impacts the rear bumper of another. Lane departure usually doesn’t happen, unless the crash happens at a very high-speed.

Rear-end crashes are the most common accident type: they represent 29% of all vehicle accidents. This means about 2 million rear-end collisions occur each year in the US.

Once again,  the most common cause is rear driver distraction, especially texting while driving, followed by aggressive driving and tailgating.

4“T-Bone” collision

The side of one vehicle is impacted by the front or rear of another vehicle, forming a “T”. They’re also named broadside and side-impact collision.

They usually happen at intersections, when a driver runs a red light or a stop sign. Drivers or passengers who are hit in the side during a T-bone collision only have the vehicle’s door for protection, hence the potential severity of the accident.

In case of high-speed impact, the struck vehicle may be spun or rolled over, potentially causing it to strike other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians.

T-Bone Car Accident

5Side-swipe collision

The sides of two vehicles traveling in the same (or opposite) directions touch.

The most common cause for side-swipe accidents is a distracted driver drifting out of his or her lane. Other classic locations are merging lanes and parking lots.

Those crashes tend to be less severe as the accident pattern is usually a glancing blow rather than a direct impact. However, loss of control of either vehicle can have unpredictable effects and secondary crashes can dramatically increase the expected crash severity. 

Contact A Car Accident Attorney

Regardless of the type of accident, if it was caused due to the negligence of another driver, Tennessee law states they are liable to compensate you for the damages your suffered. Contact the car accident attorneys at Keith Williams Law Group at 615-313-3999 to discuss your specific case.