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7 Types of Car Accidents: How Does Each Typically Occur and Which is the Most Dangerous?

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Car accidents can happen at any place and time. Based on the vehicles involved, their speed, and the type of accident, collisions can result in grave consequences for the victims. 

This article discusses seven types of car accidents, how dangerous they are, and the circumstances under which they tend to occur. 

  1. Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions may not be common, but they are, without a doubt, the most dangerous type of car accident. 

They happen when two vehicles moving in opposite directions crash into each other. The motorists involved are much more likely to sustain severe and fatal injuries if a head-on collision occurs at high speeds. 

  1. Rear-End Collisions

As the name suggests, this type of accident usually occurs when one vehicle crashes into another from behind. Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of car accidents, accounting for 6% of fatal automobile crashes and nearly 30% of all vehicle accidents in the US, according to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

These accidents are often caused by distracted or inattentive drivers, panic stops, tailgating, and poor weather conditions that reduce traction. They can be pretty dangerous if they occur at high-speed freeways, as the front car can lose control and crash into road barriers or other vehicles. 

The good news is that you may recover compensation, especially if the accident was due to someone else’s fault. However, determining rear-end collision fault can be complicated, so it is best to let an experienced attorney handle your case. 

  1. Side-Impact Collisions

Side-impact or T-bone accidents occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of another car. They often happen at intersections and parking lots. 

Since the side of a car has relatively little space to install protective features like airbags and crumple zones, side impacts usually result in more severe injuries and deaths. In 2019 alone, T-bone accidents accounted for 23% of all car accident fatalities, making them the second most dangerous type of car accident after head-on collisions.

  1. Sideswipe Collisions

As the name suggests, sideswipe accidents occur when the side of one vehicle scrapes or hits the side of another car. They usually happen when two cars driving next to each other drift too close and make contact. This can cause one driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash into a barrier or other cars. 

Sideswipe accidents also happen at intersections and parking lots as drivers attempt to make turns. While they may seem relatively harmless, sideswipes can result in severe injuries if they occur at high speeds. 

  1. Single Vehicle Accidents

Single-car crashes refer to any accident involving just one vehicle. They occur when a car crashes into debris or road barriers, runs off the road, or hits pedestrians, cyclists, or animals. 

Some common causes for single-vehicle conditions include poor road and weather conditions, distracted driving, driving while under the influence, and defective car parts.

  1. Rollover Accidents

This type of crash occurs when a car flips onto its side and either ‘rolls over’ several times or settles on its roof. Larger vehicles like vans and SUVs are more likely to be involved in rollover crashes as their center of gravity is often higher. 

A vehicle can roll over if the driver makes overly sharp turns at high speed or if it trips over a curb or object on the road. In some cases, rear-end collisions can result in rollover accidents if the struck vehicle loses control.

  1. Multiple Vehicle Collision

Also known as pile-up car crashes, multiple-vehicle collisions can be extremely deadly. They occur when one event, say a rear-end collision or thick fog, triggers a chain of events that causes more than three cars to crash. 

On freeways with heavy traffic and high-speed limits, a single-car crash can cause massive pile-ups as incoming drivers barely have time to react once they spot the accident.

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