What Are The Top 5 Most Common Types of Car Accidents in California?

Car accidents are a devastating and traumatic experience. In California, there are about 200,000 car accidents per year that result in injury. Car accidents are typically avoidable occurrences that could be prevented with better education. Knowing the common types of car accidents and their causes can help drivers be more aware and in turn, decrease the rate of accidents.

1. Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions occur when a forward-moving vehicle crashes into a car it is following. These types of crashes account for about 42% of all vehicle crashes and can be triggered by numerous reasons. Distracted driving is the leading cause of rear-end accidents, accounting for 87% of these crashes. Speeding is another culprit, as it leads to an inability to stop in time. Failure to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles increases the risk. Rear-end accidents can cause numerous injuries such as whiplash, back injuries, and head injuries. Additionally, these accidents result in vehicle damage, impacting not only yours but also those of others involved and potentially causing harm to bystanders if vehicles slide or collide with other objects.

2. T-Bone Accidents (Angle Collisions)

Angle collisions, more commonly known as T-bone accidents, describe a forward-moving car colliding perpendicularly or at another angle with another vehicle. These make up 33% of wrecks and most commonly occur in parking lots or intersections. They are usually caused by not adhering to traffic signals, such as running red lights, distracted driving, and speeding. T-bone accidents stand out as the deadliest type of collision because occupants have less protection compared to head-on or rear-end collisions. The injuries from these accidents can be severe, such as internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, and brain injury. 

3. Single Vehicle Accidents

Single-vehicle accidents involve only one vehicle and can result from various factors such as weather conditions, road hazards, or driver errors. Common scenarios include running off the road or crashing into medians and guardrails. These accidents can be triggered by factors like icy roads, fatigued driving, or driving under the influence. In California, 55% of fatal crashes are single-vehicle accidents, while nationally, 52% of fatal crashes fall into this category.


4. Multi-Vehicle Pileups

A multi-vehicle pileup happens when several cars crash into each other. This type of crash often occurs due to poor weather conditions or chain reactions stemming from events like rear-end collisions or drunk drivers. These accidents can result in various injuries or death, with severity depending on the intensity of the pileup. Determining fault in these situations is particularly challenging, given the complexity and chaotic nature of the collisions. 

5. Sideswipe Collisions

Sideswipe collisions occur when two cars traveling in the same direction impact the right and left sides of each other. This accident type makes up 21% of all crashes. A few common causes include improper lane changes, street racing, and texting while driving. These incidents can lead to various injuries and damages, ranging from broken bones and soft tissue injuries to head injuries. 

How Can I Avoid Getting in a Car Accident?

You can’t always control what happens to you on the road but you can practice defensive driving techniques. Staying informed and educated about the causes of these common types of accidents is essential in preventing them from happening to you. Never use your phone, drive under the influence, or drive over the designated speed limit and we will all have a safer journey on the road.


Author: Brandon Park