According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are approximately six million vehicle accidents annually in the United States. That’s an average of almost 16,000 accidents per day. While not all these accidents are serious, many do result in injuries—and some even result in fatalities.
In fact, traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The main causes of car accidents are distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding. Other factors contributing to car accidents include driver fatigue, inexperience, and poor weather conditions.
So, what are the top most common types of car accident?
Rear-end collisions are by far the most common type of vehicle accident, accounting for approximately 29% of all accidents that occur each year. They often happen when a driver is following another car too closely and doesn’t have time to stop when that other vehicle unexpectedly slows down or comes to a stop.
Head-on collisions are considered among the most severe accidents because they often result in fatalities. They typically happen when a driver crosses over into oncoming traffic—for example, when they are trying to pass another vehicle on a two-lane road or turning at an intersection without yielding to oncoming traffic.
Side-Impact Collisions (T-Bones)
Side-impact collisions, also known as T-bone collisions, happen when the front end of one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle. They often occur at intersections when one driver ignores a red light or stop sign and collides with the side of another vehicle that has the right of way.
Sideswipe accidents usually occur when the side of one car swipes the side of another, typically while both vehicles travel in the same direction. They often happen when one driver tries to change lanes and doesn’t see another vehicle already occupying that lane.
Rollovers usually happen when a vehicle trips or hits something that causes it to flip onto its side or roof—for example, hitting a guardrail on the side of the road or overturning after hitting a pothole can cause a rollover accident. They can also be caused by loss of control due to speeding or weather conditions like ice or sleet. While rollovers make up less than 3% of all car accidents, they’re responsible for about 30% of all traffic fatalities.
The Bottom Line
Car accidents can range from minor fender benders to major tragedies—and everything in between. Understanding the most common types of accidents and taking steps to prevent them can help keep you safe on the road. And if you’re unlucky enough to be involved in one, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it and get your life back on track as quickly as possible.
Obviously, no one wants to be in a vehicle accident, but unfortunately, they are a common occurrence. Drive defensively, stay focused, and be aware of your surroundings and you will reduce your risk of being involved in an accident.