The 10 Most Common Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them

From rear-end collisions to side-swipes, these are the most common car accidents.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports an average of 10 million accidents per year, and three out of every 1,000 involve at least one fatality. Unsurprisingly, rear-end collisions are some of the most common with about 1.7 million occurring each year.
A car accident isn't just a dangerous event: it can also cause your
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1. Rear-end collision

Rear-end collisions are
responsible for 29% of accidents
, making them the most common type of collision. As the name implies, these occur when you either hit a vehicle in front of you or another driver hits your car from behind. 
Whichever is the case, rear-end collisions can almost always be avoided by following these tips:
  • Keep your distance. Stay at least three seconds behind the vehicle you’re following, and make sure to allow more space during poor-driving conditions.
  • Don’t get distracted. Pay attention to the road in front of you and the cars around you.
  • Don’t drive when drowsy or
    under the influence
    . Fatigue, drugs, and alcohol all increase your reaction time, making it more difficult to avoid an accident.
Key Takeaway Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident, but they can be avoided by keeping your distance, paying attention to the road, and driving while fully alert.
MORE: How different types of car accidents affect your insurance rates

2. Intersection crashes

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that intersections are one of the most common places for accidents to occur. From
rear-end collisions
T-bone impacts
, intersections are a perfect storm of accident-producing situations. 
To help you avoid becoming an intersection statistic, follow these tips:
  • Don’t just trust the traffic light. Take a moment to look both ways before advancing into the intersection on a green light.
  • Avoid distractions. While distractions are never a good thing while driving, they can be especially problematic when you approach an intersection.
  • Watch for pedestrians. They always have the right of way.

3. Blind-spot accidents

Blind-spot accidents are caused solely by driver error, which means, while they’re disturbingly common, they’re also nearly 100% avoidable. It’s easy for a small car or motorcycle to disappear completely in your blind spot, and with the increasing popularity of
large SUVs
and trucks, blind spots are only getting bigger. 
Avoid causing a blind-spot accident by following these tips:
  • Check your blind spots. Even if you’re blessed with a car with blind-spot monitoring technology, you should still physically look to ensure your blind spots are clear.
  • Know your blind spots. Make sure you know where the blind spots are in the car you’re driving. 

4. Backing collisions

Accidents often happen as drivers are backing out of parking spots, driveways, and garages. Backup cameras certainly make these easier to avoid, but an over-reliance on them actually increases the likelihood of side-impact collisions
This doesn’t mean backing collisions can’t be avoided, though—just follow these tips:
  • Assess your surroundings. Look around before you get into your car to see what’s around you.
  • Opt for straight lines over turns. Back up in a straight line as much as you can.
  • Look around, even if you have a backup camera. Your peripheral vision is far superior to your backup camera’s.

5. Side-swipe accident

Side-swipe accidents happen when two vehicles traveling parallel to one another collide. While this type of accident is often caused when a driver fails to check their blind spots, it can also be caused by other factors, like
distracted or impaired driving
Follow these tips to avoid causing or being involved in a side-swipe accident:
  • Check your blind spots. Failure to check blind spots is the leading cause of side-swipe accidents.
  • Avoid distractions. You might be noticing a theme here—distracted driving is one of the top causes of most types of driving accidents.
  • Avoid driving while fatigued or impaired. Following closely behind distracted driving, driving while tired or under the influence is another top cause of car accidents.

6. Single-vehicle accident

It’s often hard to understand how a single person can wind up in an accident on their own, but it happens much more often than we’d like to think. Whether you’re trying to avoid debris or an animal in the road, you feel the need to
send a quick text
, or you’ve not been getting enough sleep, all of these situations can lead to a single-vehicle accident. 
However, these tips can help you avoid getting into one:
  • Don’t drive distracted. Whether you’re texting, eating, enjoying the scenery, or even just daydreaming, distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents.
  • Don’t speed. Speed limits are posted for your safety, not for your inconvenience.
  • Pay attention to road conditions. Even the most familiar roads
    become dangerous
    when covered in ice or obscured by fog, so adjust your driving to the road’s current conditions.

7. Low-speed accidents

It’s easy to think you’re safe when driving at low speeds, but impacts with another vehicle,
pedestrian, or cyclist
are serious even at the slowest of speeds. Whether you’re on the highway or in your driveway, you can never be too careful when you’re driving. 
Avoid low-speed accidents by following these tips:
  • Exercise situational awareness. Be aware of your surroundings at all times when driving.
  • Avoid distracted and impaired driving. It’s easy to miss seeing a pedestrian or another car if you’re distracted by your phone, and it’s hard to avoid hitting them if your reactions are impaired by alcohol or fatigue.

8. Rollover accident

Rollover accidents
can be caused by several different circumstances, and, if you’re not wearing a seatbelt, can lead to severe injuries and death. Unlike head-on collisions, though, they are surprisingly survivable when the proper safety precautions are in place. 
You can increase your chances of avoiding them altogether by following these tips:
  • Follow posted speed limits. Whether you’re swerving to avoid another vehicle or taking a corner too fast because you’re speeding, it’s easy to find yourself in a rollover accident due to excessive speeds.
  • Avoid distractions and impairments. As with all other types of accidents, rollovers become much more likely when you’re distracted or impaired.
  • Practice situational awareness. Rollovers can also be caused by other drivers running you off the road, so pay attention to the vehicles around you to give yourself time to react.
Key Takeaway Rollover accidents are surprisingly survivable if all vehicle passengers are wearing seatbelts.

9. Multi-car collision

Very often, multi-car accidents are caused by a chain reaction of rear-end collisions, but they can be caused by a number of situations. Multi-vehicle accidents can lead to some of the grisliest of injuries, especially when larger vehicles are involved. 
The following tips can help you avoid finding yourself involved in one:
  • Don’t follow too closely. As they often start when one person rear-ends another, ensuring you have enough space to stop before hitting the car in front of you is one of the best ways to prevent being in a multi-car collision.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Keep your attention on all of your surroundings, not just the car right in front of you or those directly beside you. Watch for vehicles speeding up to your position or those well ahead of you that may slam on the brakes.
  • Adjust your driving to road conditions. Slick roads and poor visibility are among the top causes of multi-vehicle accidents, so be sure you’re adjusting your driving to the road conditions at hand.

10. Head-on collision

Head-on collisions
are among the most dangerous and deadly types of crashes since they multiply the force of impact based on both vehicles motion. Even if you and the person you hit are only going 25 mph, that still means you impact at the equivalent of hitting a stationary object at 50 mph
Thankfully, they’re less common than many other types of crashes, and often the easiest to avoid if you just follow these tips:
  • Avoid distractions. You’ll notice distracted driving appears quite often on this list, and for good reason—it’s one of the leading causes of accidents across the board.
  • Avoid speeding. High speed increases your chances of losing control and leaving your lane, especially around corners.
  • Avoid driving while fatigued or under the influence. Not only do you run the risk of falling asleep or passing out at the wheel and traveling into oncoming traffic, but you also severely limit your ability to react to changing driving conditions.
Key Takeaway Though less common than other types of accidents, head-on collisions cause more injuries and deaths than any other type of collision.

How to find affordable car insurance even after an accident

If there’s one thing you can be almost certain of, it’s that getting into a car accident will affect your insurance rates. Even if you’re
not at fault
, you may still see your rates climb just because you’ve made a claim. That’s why you need
to help you find the most affordable insurance after you’ve been in a car accident.
So you can keep your mind focused on recovery and repairs, Jerry will handle all the hard work of comparison-shopping over 50+ of the top insurance providers for you. Just download the app and answer a few quick questions, and you’ll have customized quotes to choose from in minutes. As a
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At 29%, rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident, according to the NHTSA.
Follow the
three A’s of defensive driving
, by maintaining a good attitude, situational awareness, and performing legal and safe actions.
Possibly. If you’re at fault in an accident, you will certainly see your rates increase; however, they could also increase if the accident was not your fault.
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