According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 336 fatal crashes in Massachusetts in 2017, resulting in the deaths of 350 people. Thousands more were injured that year and in the time since then. 66 percent of those fatal crashes involved a single vehicle. Car crashes in this state and beyond can occur in many ways. Here is a look at some of the most common types of car accidents, to learn more legal advice about car accidents speak with an experienced car accident attorney.
The National Transportation Safety Board reports that rear-end collisions accounted for nearly half of all two-vehicle crashes occurring between the years of 2012-2014, and one of these accidents occurs in the U.S. every eight seconds. This type of crash is often referred to as a “whiplash collision” due to the high number of soft-tissue neck injuries that drivers and vehicle occupants incur when they’ve been rear-ended. However, the injuries that can be suffered from a rear-end crash can be quite serious. Each year, about 1,700 people die as a result of this type of crash.
Rear-end collisions tend to be slow-impact crashes, often taking place at intersections. They’re typically caused by the driver in the following vehicle failing to attend to the traffic ahead. A 2018 study revealed that texting while driving in traffic increases your chances of being involved in a rear-end collision by seven times.
Some of the common causes of rear-end collisions include: Speeding, which makes it harder for a vehicle to stop; following too closely; fatigued driving, which impairs the driver’s ability to judge the distance between his or her car and the car in front; aggressive driving; or distractions such as texting, which prevent the driver from noticing that traffic in front of him or her has come to a stop. While it is generally assumed that the following car is always responsible for a rear-end collision, there are some circumstances where this isn’t true, such as when the lead car stops illegally or abruptly, suddenly changes lanes, or is traveling in reverse.
Given the right circumstances, any vehicle can roll during a crash. However, some vehicles are more susceptible to rolling, including SUVs, pickups, and vans, which tend to be taller, narrower, and have a higher center of gravity than passenger vehicles. Rollover accidents are generally caused by other factors. About 40 percent of rollovers occur when the driver is speeding, and almost half of all rollovers involve drivers who are alcohol-impaired. Distraction is also a common reason for a rollover to occur. Single-vehicle crashes account for 80 percent of all rollovers, and this type of accident often takes place on roads with higher speed limits and a lack of center barriers.
Single Car Accident
As previously noted, single car accidents are more prevalent in Massachusetts than multi-car crashes. There are two types of single-car accidents: run-off-the-road (ROR) crashes, and on-road (OR) crashes. ROR is the more common type, and often the more dangerous of the two, accounting for 70 percent of the fatalities in single-car accidents. ROR crashes occur when the vehicle leaves the lane of travel, encroaches on the shoulder, median, parking lane, or roadside, and strikes either a natural or artificial object. OR crashes often involve a vehicle attempting to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, bicyclist, or animal, and may involve a rollover or a vehicle hitting a median divider.
ROR crashes generally occur where there is a curve in the road. Drivers who are involved in this type of collision are often engaging in other risky driving behaviors such as driving while impaired or speeding.
According to 2017 figures provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, side-impact collisions resulted in 19 percent of the fatalities in crashes involving passenger cars. Side-impact collisions, also known as T-bone collisions or broadside collisions, commonly occur at an intersection when one vehicle runs a red light or otherwise fails to yield the right-of-way, causing the front of one car to strike the side of the other. Occupants on the side of the vehicle that was struck often face life-altering injuries due to the impact of the collision and the lack of protective features such as the bumper, engine, seats, or a trunk to help absorb some of that impact. The injuries suffered in this type of accident also tend to be more severe if there is a large size discrepancy between the two vehicles involved in the accident.
Head-on collisions are a very small percentage of the number of accidents in the U.S. each year. However, they account for more fatalities than any other type of accident. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted that more than half of all traffic fatalities in 2017 were caused by this type of crash. Head-on collisions rarely occur directly head-on, but are more likely to involve a frontal collision at an angle. Because of this angle, a vehicle’s airbag may not provide protection where it is needed, resulting in more severe injuries.
Head-on collisions are more prevalent in rural areas, where the roads are often one lane in each direction, feature sharp corners that impair a driver’s ability to see approaching traffic, and higher speeds that reduce the driver’s ability to come to a safe stop.
These accidents involve multiple vehicles; adverse weather conditions and chain reactions to a previous accident can cause them. It is often difficult to determine who is liable in a multi-vehicle pileup. In addition to severe injuries suffered from the accident itself, vehicle occupants involved in pileups generally face additional danger when attempting to exit their vehicle while the pileup accident is still taking place. With many cars involved, rescuing victims trapped in their vehicles is another difficult aspect of this type of crash.
Call The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan for Help With Your Car Accident Claim
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, we’d like to discuss your legal options with you. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation and case review, contact us online or by calling (508) 588-0422.