What is Considered a Traffic Accident?
A traffic accident or motor vehicle accident happens when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, a person, animal, or other inanimate objects such as a tree, a pole, or a building. Traffic accidents often result in serious injury, disability, or death, and can cause significant property damage and financial constraints for those affected.
Many factors contribute to traffic accidents, and sometimes when some of these factors are paired in one situation, the risk of accident increases. Some of the most common risk factors can be dependent on the driver, the vehicle, or the environment—for example, drunk or impaired driving, faulty brakes on a vehicle, or bad weather. Naturally, an impaired driver handling a vehicle during a bad storm has a greater risk of accident than a sober driver in the same environment.
There are different types of vehicle accidents: head-on, rear-end, side-accident, road departure and roll-over:
- Head-on accidents happen when two vehicles moving in opposite directions crash head-on, or with the front part of the car. These accidents often result in grave injuries or fatalities.
- Rear-end accidents are extremely common, accounting for 28% of all automotive accidents, but only 6% of fatalities, according to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). These accidents often happen due to distracted drivers, tailgating and panic stops. These accidents are rarely fatal, unless the vehicle that hits from behind does it at a very high speed. This could happen in a situation where there’s a vehicle that suddenly stops in a high speed highway without notice.
- A side-accident is also known as a T-bone accident and happens when a vehicle is impacted on the side. These accidents often occur at intersections, stop signs, and parking lots when a driver does not follow the traffic signals or is distracted. They can be highly dangerous depending on the speed of the impact. These types of accidents can also cause the vehicles involved to roll-over.
- Road departures consist of single-vehicle accidents where the vehicle leaves the road and crashes with an object on the side of the road. These accidents usually happen to drivers who have fallen asleep, are distracted or are experiencing car failure. From 2016 to 2018 an average of 19,158 fatalities resulted from roadway departures, which is 51 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
- A roll-over accident is the most dangerous type of crash, as it often results in a fatality; however, they only account for a small percentage of accidents. A roll-over happens when a vehicle tips on its side or roof. These accidents often occur when a vehicle hits a large obstacle with the wheels or when a vehicle hits a curve, and the lateral force increases.
An accident’s physical and psychological effects can be devastating, ranging from minor injuries to catastrophic physical effects such as paralysis and trauma. Most traffic accidents occur because of preventable human factors. As a result, it is our responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and only drive when we are mentally and physically able. Newer cars offer many safety features that we can use to our advantage, but even something basic like using your seatbelt can save your life. At 1-800-411-PAIN, we care for the well-being of our community. If you get into a traffic accident, after 911 Call Path at 1-800-411-PAIN, we will make the process seamless, so you can focus on your health and well-being.