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Airbag pop-out after a frontal collision.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States are caused by driver error. While vehicle malfunction and environmental factors, such as faulty brakes or heavy rain, can cause crashes, most often, collisions are caused by something that a driver did – or failed to do. 

Knowing that driver error is the most common underlying factor is a good start, but it doesn’t tell us what types of accidents occur most frequently in the U.S. Digging into NHTSA data reveals that there are three types of crashes that happen more often than others: rear-end collisions, angle accidents, and sideswipes. 

While you can’t always prevent these types of collisions, there are steps that you can take to minimize your risks. If you are hurt in a car accident, a San Rafael car accident attorney can work with you to help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.

The Data: What Do the Numbers Tell Us about Motor Vehicle Accidents in the United States?

The NHTSA, which is part of the United States Department of Transportation, collects data from states on motor vehicle accidents in the United States. These statistics give us important insight into things like the number of drunk driving crashes that occur each year, whether accidents involving commercial trucks are increasing, and even the age of drivers involved in accidents.

The NHTSA also collects information on how crashes occur. Its 2018 Traffic Safety Facts compiles motor vehicle crash data from across the United States. This publication helps us break down the underlying causes of 6,734,000 car accidents that occurred in the United States in 2018.

According to this report, the ten most common type of car accidents are:

  1. Rear-end collisions (2,175,000 accidents in 2018)
  2. Angle accidents (1,450,000 accidents in 2018)
  3. Sideswipe crashes (863,000 accidents in 2018)
  4. Hitting a parked motor vehicle (358,000 accidents in 2018)
  5. Striking an animal (312,000 accidents in 2018)
  6. Running into a culvert, curb, or ditch (256,000 accidents in 2018)
  7. Hitting a pole or post (208,000 accidents in 2018))
  8. Head-on collisions (167,000 accidents in 2018)
  9. Running into shrubbery or a tree (114,000 accidents in 2018))
  10. Hitting a guardrail (103,000 accidents in 2018)

Significantly, the top three types of car accidents – rear end, angle, and sideswipe crashes – are most likely to lead to injuries. Angle accidents, pedestrian collisions, and head-on collisions accounted for the highest number of fatalities in 2018.

Most Common Car Accident #1: Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision is exactly what it sounds like: the front of one car hitting the rear of another vehicle. The severity of this type of crash varies on a number of factors, from the speed of the car on impact and the size difference between the two vehicles. It is often caused by unsafe driving activities, such as tailgating (driving too close), speeding, and distracted driving.

While you cannot always prevent a rear-end accident from happening, there are some steps that you can take to lower the risk of it happening to you. This includes:

  • Making sure that your brake lights work
  • Signaling well in advance of a turn
  • Braking slowly
  • Paying attention to driving conditions
  • Checking your mirrors often
  • Staying focused on the road

Although you can’t control what other drivers do, by committing yourself to driving with caution, you may be able to avoid a rear-end collision.

Most Common Car Accident #2: Angle Accidents

An angle accident happens when one vehicle hits another at an angle. An example of an angle accident is a “t-bone” collision, which is when one car hits another at a 90-degree angle, forming a “t” shape. These types of accidents often occur at stop signs or red lights, where one car is traveling down the road and the other vehicle comes through the intersection without right of way. 

As noted above, angle accidents result in the most fatalities in the United States each year. This is likely due to the fact that these collisions result in an impact to the unprotected sides of a vehicle. 

Because many angle (or side-impact) accidents happen at intersections, you can minimize your risk of being in this type of crash by slowing down at intersections – even if you have the right of way. You should also pay close attention while driving, looking for vehicles that may be turning onto the road. Defensive driving techniques, such as maintaining a safe speed and keeping an appropriate distance between your car and other vehicles, can also help to reduce the likelihood of being in this type of crash.

Most Common Car Accident #3: Sideswipe Crashes

Sideswipe accidents occur when the sides of two vehicles come into contact with each other. This often happens when one vehicle is merging onto the roadway and strikes another, or when a car is changing lanes. While sideswipes are usually relatively minor accidents, when they happen at higher rates of speed, they can result in serious injury.

As a driver, you can avoid causing a sideswipe collision by checking your blind spots carefully when changing lanes and merging with care. To reduce the danger of being hit by another driver, pay close attention to other drivers on the road with you. Be sure to leave plenty of space between your vehicle and others, and maintain a safe speed.

Hurt in a Car Accident? We Are Here to Help.

A motor vehicle accident can be incredibly traumatic and may leave you struggling physically, emotionally, and financially. If you have been injured in a crash, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. Our law firm will advocate for your right to the maximum possible recovery.

At Kuvara Law, we are dedicated to helping injury victims get the money that they deserve for their losses. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a San Rafael car accident attorney, reach out to us today at 415-479-7070 or fill out our online contact form.

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