Car Accident Types Explained

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Also called a traffic collision, a car accident happens when a car or motor vehicle collides with a stationary object, another vehicle, a pedestrian, or an animal.

Not all car accidents are fatal. In fact, the majority of them result in minor to major injuries, along with damage to the vehicle. To make sure you reduce your probability of being involved in a car accident, it’s important to learn what the various types are so that you know how to avoid them. Let’s discuss some of the most common car accidents.

If you do get into a car accident in San Diego and someone else was at fault, make certain to contact The Kindley Firm, APC.

Vehicle Rollover

According to the NHTSA, close to 300,000 vehicle rollovers happen in a given year, taking approximately 10,000 lives annually. SUVs and minivans, thanks to their high center of gravity, are more prone to rollovers than sedans.

Compounding this problem is the reality that SUVs are usually loaded to capacity, which makes them top-heavy and more vulnerable. A rollover accident relates to the stability of vehicle in turns, which is determined by the association between the track or width (distance between right and left wheels) and center of gravity. Increased center of gravity coupled by a narrow track can deem a vehicle unstable during quick turns or acute changes in direction.

Head-On Collision

A head-on collision is among the most serious of car accident types. Although these aren’t quite as common as other crash types and represent only a minor portion of all car accidents, they are usually responsible for fatal car accidents.

In fact, a head-on car accident can prove to be catastrophic even at normal speeds. To avoid such collisions, it’s recommended to be aware of street conditions, traffic signs, and not change lanes abruptly.  

Rear-End Collision

A rear-end collision ( is usually the result when a car follows the car in front with little physical space in-between and the front car’s driver applies the brake suddenly, leaving little time for the other vehicle’s driver to react. Not the most terrifying of car accidents, rear-end collisions are probably the most common. To mitigate such collisions, it’s best to not follow another vehicle and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Rear-enders are a common cause of neck injuries such as whiplash.

Sideswipe Collision

A sideswipe collision ( is basically two parallel cars’ sides touching and swiping each other. Such accidents happen when vehicles don’t maintain sufficient side space between each other. Usually, the damage (car damage and personal injuries) in such a collision is minor, provided the drivers involved haven’t lost control over their cars. Since the impact swipes the vehicle’s surface parallel to travel direction, there isn’t any impact in the suspension regions.

T-Bone Car Accident

A T-bone car accident, also called a right-angle collision or broadside collision, can be the most impactful in terms of property damage and personal injury. These accidents happen when the rear or front of a vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle.

The accident’s severity is ascertained by the vehicle’s’ size, speed at contact, and a few other factors. Often, the striking vehicle’s crumple zone would absorb the shock to an extent, but the vehicle at the receiving end would usually have a thinner crumple zone in a T-bone, making the impact a lot more severe for it. The struck vehicle may roll, flip, swerve, or skid after initial impact.

Other Types

Some of the other types of car accidents are single-vehicle crashes, low-speed accidents, hit-and-run accidents, accidents involving pedestrians, and multiple vehicles piling up.

Single-car accidents are quite common. They entail vehicles striking objects such as a tree, pole, wall, or a fire hydrant. Such accidents could also comprise cars slipping on ice, running off-road, spinning uncontrollably, and so on. Usually, over-correcting a minor error or braking abruptly or too hard are root causes.

Make certain to contact a car accident attorney if you need to seek compensation for a crash that wasn’t your fault.