A Guide to the Possibility of Accidents: The Different Types of Car Crashes

Compared to other high-income nations, the US soars ahead in a surprising category: car crash fatalities.

According to a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the road death rates of the US have declined at a gelatinous pace compared to the fluid reductions experienced by our international neighbors.

Perhaps it has something to do with technology or attention, but one thing remains certain: being on the road requires constant awareness.

Rear-ends. Head-on collisions. Sideswipes.

There’s a lot to watch out for. Here, we’ll cover the types of accidents seen in the winding roadways of the USA.

Head-On Collisions

Accounting for 2% of accidents in 2005, these crashes caused 10% of highway fatalities according to a head-on collision accident lawyer in Atlanta.

These accidents are often regarded as the most dangerous type of collision.

When two vehicles’ front ends smash together, the good news is that there is a large crumple zone located in the hood of most cars. This zone absorbs some of the impact, and since force equates to mass times acceleration, this means the two cars slow down before contact with the drivers.

However, spinal cord injuries and head trauma are common effects of this type of crash.

In head-on collisions, someone is almost always at fault.

Rear-End Collisions

When one car crashes into the car in front of it, a rear-end collision has occurred.

These are the most common types of crashes and make up about 30% of all vehicular accidents.

Typically considered to be relatively minor, these mishaps can still pack quite a punch:

  • Whiplash
  • Spinal trauma
  • Head or brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Paralysis
  • Facial disfigurement

Side-Impact Collisions

Victims of side-impact collisions are three times as likely to experience traumatic brain injury than victims of other types of crashes.

Side impacts occur when one car “T-bones” another by driving headlong into the side of a vehicle. It’s estimated these incidents are involved in 25% of all crashes.

Because there is so little material separating passengers from the oncoming vehicle, severe injuries are common even at low speeds.


Typically much less severe in nature than other crash types, sideswipes occur when the sides of two cars touch.

Sometimes, only cosmetic damage to the vehicles is experienced. However, sideswipes can cause loss of control, leading to other—less forgivable—consequences.

By nature, they are categorized under side-impact collisions.

To avoid sideswipes, keep a wary eye out while changing lanes or parallel parking.


Cars with higher centers of gravity, such as SUVs or trucks, are more prone to rolling over.

Half of fatal rollovers are alcohol-related and 40% involve excessive speeding.

Driver behavior has a significant impact in rollovers, but almost all crashes involve “tripping,” when the vehicle “trips” over something in the road.

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A Guide to the Possibility of Accidents: The Different Types of Car Crashes