Living in Florida, it’s common to get so used to seeing car crashes along the freeway and bridges that it’s easy to become desensitized to them. What for some people may mean a lot of aggravation and medical issues, for most motorists, it’s simply added stress on top of their already timely commute.
The 10 Most Common Types of Car Accidents
1. Tailgating Accidents
The most common accident occurs from tailgating. Tailgating is the term used to describe when a vehicle is traveling too close to the car in front of them to be able to react if the front car slows down or stops. Sometimes, the driver in front gets angry at the person behind them and will tap their brakes (so that the brake lights appear) in an attempt to get the tailgater to back off and allow for a safer following distance. But, this can lead to a rear-end collision quickly and usually causes more harm than good.
If you find yourself tailgating because you’re in a rush, take a deep breath and remember to leave an adequate distance between you and the driver in front of you. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time, give yourself more time to get there or look up the place you’re going to beforehand to know how much time is needed. If you notice a tailgater behind you, give yourself more time to brake gradually, or if it’s safe to do so, change lanes and allow them to go around you. If weather conditions are poor, allow for a greater distance between you and the car in front of you to give yourself adequate time to react.
2. Rear-End Collision
These types of accidents are the most common cause of whiplash. The impact causes your head to move in a backward and forward motion, and it affects both the bones in the spine and the soft tissue around them.
Rear-end collisions tend to happen when a vehicle is following too closely behind a car, which doesn’t give the driver enough time or space to stop when you do. In most circumstances, the person driving behind the impacted car will be found at fault (although that could vary depending on the facts of the accident, such as if there was a chain reaction, poor visibility, bad weather conditions, or the person in the front had no working brake lights). Therefore, the best way to avoid them is to always leave enough space between you and the car in front of you.
Make sure to check your rearview mirrors and slow down gradually before stopping to prevent someone who may be driving too closely behind you from hitting your car. Also, check your brake lights regularly so you can identify when a brake light goes out and can replace it before getting back on the road.
3. Side-Impact Collision
Also known as T-Bone accidents, side-impact collisions are among the most dangerous types of accidents since the sides of motor vehicles afford the least amount of protection to drivers and passengers. They are most common at intersections and typically include injuries to the head, spinal cord, and chest — and can even result in death.
Some ways to avoid side-impact collisions include always coming to a complete stop at stop signs. Pay close attention to yield signs. It’s better to have someone honk their horn at you from behind than to be involved in a car accident. Also, be mindful of flashing lights.
4. Yellow Light Collisions
When a light turns yellow, it’s a sign that you should slow down. So, if the car in front of you stops at a yellow light and you were expecting them to continue driving through the light before it turns red, this can result in an accident. But, how the second driver reacts can change the type of accident that occurs.
If the driver behind the first car was tailgating, this could mean a rear-end collision, but if the driver behind the first car tries to go around the stopped car, this could mean a side-swipe or side-impact collision (especially if the light turns red before they make it through the intersection). To prevent collisions from a yellow light, make sure you slow down gradually and check your rearview mirror to make sure the car behind you has the appropriate time to stop. A yellow light means to have precaution, not to speed up to avoid the red light.
5. Side-Swipe Collision
A side-swipe collision is the type of accident that happens when two cars are driving next to each other, traveling in the same direction, and one car hits the other. The most common risk factors include:
- Changing lanes without checking for blind spots
- Swerving due to distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
Since most of its reasons are careless driving, the best way to avoid side-swipe collisions is to avoid distracted driving. Use your turn signal when changing lanes. Look in your rearview and side mirrors. Look over your shoulder to check blind spots. Pretend you’re taking your driver’s test again. Those rules weren’t put in place only to pass the test and forget about them.
6. Vehicle Rollover
A rollover accident is the type of crash where one or more vehicles roll over to their side or to their roof. In catastrophic accidents, the car may roll over several times before coming to a complete stop. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans, pickup trucks, and buses have a higher center of gravity, making them more susceptible to this type of accident.
Injuries may vary based on how fast you were traveling, the type of vehicle, whether you were wearing your seatbelt, and how many times your car flipped. Some of the most common injuries in rollover accidents include:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Lacerated skin
- Injury to internal organs
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
The best way to prevent rollover accidents is to drive at the speed limit (almost half of rollover accidents are caused by speeding) and avoid distracted driving. Taking your eyes off the road for a split second to glance down at your smartphone, tell the kids to behave, or to talk with your friends is enough to take away sufficient reaction time to dodge an accident.
7. Head-On Collision
Head-on collisions often happen in rural areas and when people drive the wrong way in more populated zones (such as getting on the freeway from an off-ramp). The best way to avoid them is to never drive when feeling drowsy. Falling asleep at the wheel is the cause of hundreds of thousands of accidents each year. Distracted driving or ignoring one-way signs are also a regular culprit.
8. Wrong-Way Accidents
While not the primary cause of head-on collisions, wrong-way accidents do account for a portion of them. And, it’s been estimated that about 60% of wrong-wrong accidents are caused by drunk drivers — with most wrong-way accidents occurring at night. These types of accidents happen when a car travels down the wrong side or direction of a road. The result can be a head-on collision or cause other vehicles to get into accidents as they try to avoid the car going down the wrong way.
To prevent a wrong-way accident, avoid drinking before driving and pay attention to road signs — especially if you’re traveling in an unfamiliar area where one-way roads are possible. Wrong-way accidents are almost always considered the fault of the person traveling down the wrong way, so it’s important that you pay attention every time you get behind the wheel.
9. Single-Car Accidents
Since only one car is involved in single-car accidents, the majority of times, the driver will be found at fault. However, there are instances when this isn’t the case, such as:
- Poor road conditions
- Failure to place traffic signs
- Safety barriers
- Proper lighting
- Inadequate maintenance of roads
- Poor visibility due to weather
- Mechanical failures
However, even when any of these circumstances apply, motorists are always expected to exercise due care. For instance, slow down if visibility is poor or roads are wet, and always avoid texting or checking social media while driving. When it comes to mechanical failures in particular, who is at fault depends on many factors. It could be the manufacturer, the most recent auto shop who checked the car, or the driver or owner if you were aware of maintenance deficiencies that needed to be corrected and failed to do so.
10. Multi-Vehicle Pile-Ups
This type of accident, just as with rear-end collisions, tends to happen when people speed and fail to leave enough space between their car and the car in front of them. When a single crash occurs, it results in a chain reaction. Generally, the first vehicle that failed to stop will likely be found responsible for the pile-up.
Call Clark Law if You’ve Been in a Car Accident in Tampa Bay
Determining who’s at fault for an accident will depend on many factors. This is why it’s imperative to talk to an attorney as soon as possible, so that all of them can be taken into account before you accept any settlement offer.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.