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Lurking dangers: Traffic accidents

Traffic accidents can range from minor fender benders to serious wrecks that total vehicles. Each type of accident has some common elements that are likely to be present. Understanding some basic facts about the more common wreck-types may help if you are involved in a crash.

Here is some useful information about the most common accident types:

Head-on collision

Head-on collisions are often fatal. These are most likely to occur at higher speeds when one vehicle crosses into oncoming traffic. In some instances, they can involve a driver who is travelling the wrong way on a highway or interstate, which is particularly dangerous.

Rear-end collision

When one driver does not realize that the car in front of him or her has stopped, the rear vehicle might hit the one in front. This type of crash usually causes more serious injuries for the occupants of the vehicle that was struck.


A rollover is usually a one-car accident. Typically, it is caused when a vehicle with a high center of gravity takes a turn at a higher speed than it can safely manage. There are also some instances in which one vehicle strikes another at an angle that causes the struck vehicle to flip.

Sideswipes and side impact

Sideswipes are low impact accidents that usually only cause superficial damage to the vehicles involved. They often do not involve injuries. Side impact crashes are a bit different. These wrecks involve a collision in which one vehicle's front or rear slams into the side of the other vehicle. They are commonly called t-bone crashes. Possible injuries depend on the speed, site of impact and safety features in the impacted area.

Wreck pileups

When three or more vehicles are involved in a crash, there is often a variety of damage severity. It is possible that one vehicle might be struck more than once in these crashes. Because of the number of victims and vehicles, the cause of these wrecks are often difficult to determine. Associated injuries can range from cuts and bruises to catastrophic injuries.

Anyone who is injured in a wreck should seek medical attention and may face a difficult road to recovery. Victims might opt to pursue personal injury claims for compensation. This may offer financial support to cover medical care costs and other damages from the incident.

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