Skip to Content
Call Us Today! 530-413-0245

The Different Types of Car Accidents

close up of a black car with a smashed front end

Common Crash Types All Drivers Should Know

The United States averages over 17,000 car accidents each day, and over 100 of these result in fatalities. From singular vehicle crashes to multi-car pile-ups, there are many different ways in which these accidents can occur. All drivers should be aware of these risks; here is a list of some of the most common types of collisions.


One of the most dangerous types of crashes, head-on collisions often result in severe injuries or death. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), about 10% of fatal crashes in 2020 were head-on collisions.

These are most typically thought to occur when one driver crosses the center line into oncoming traffic. However, head-on collisions can also occur in intersections, parking lots, or anywhere that may have cars coming from multiple directions. There may also be instances in which a rear-end collision is the first harmful event, sending a car head-on into another.


A rear-end collision happens when the front end of one car collides with the back end of another. These are often caused by distracted driving, following too closely behind another vehicle, or multiple vehicle accidents. While they are not usually as serious as other types of accidents, they can still result in injuries or even death. III’s report shows that just under 7% of fatal crashes were rear-end collisions in 2020.


An underride collision is a type of rear-end accident that happens when a smaller vehicle collides with the back of a semi-truck and becomes wedged underneath the trailer. These accidents are often fatal, as the car’s front end becomes crushed, potentially leaving the driver and occupants stuck.

Side Impact or T-Bone

Side impact crashes, also called T-bone accidents, happen when the front end of one car collides with the side of another. These can be particularly dangerous because the vehicle’s occupants do not have the same protection from their doors and windows as they do in a front or rear-end collision. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), side impacts were the cause of 23% of passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in 2020.


A sideswipe is a type of side impact accident that happens when two cars are going in the same direction and brush against each other, usually while changing lanes. These accidents are not generally as serious as a T-bone but can still cause damage and injuries. However, III reports that about 2.7% of fatal crashes in 2020 were from sideswipes.


A rollover accident is when a vehicle overturns onto its roof or side. These are most common with taller vehicles, such as SUVs and vans, but can happen with any type of vehicle. Rollovers often occur after another kind of collision, such as a head-on crash or T-bone accident.

These types of crashes are often considered the most deadly. A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) analyzed data from 1991 to 2000 and found that about one-third of occupant fatalities were from rollover crashes. Light truck accidents were also more likely to have a fatal outcome than other types of vehicles.

Northern California Car Accident Attorneys Helping You Pursue Justice

Regardless of what type of car accident you have been involved in, you should know what steps to take afterward. Our Chico firm can help you through the next steps if someone else’s negligence caused your crash. Trust that our award-winning team can help you through this challenging time. Call (530) 413-0245 to schedule a free consultation or fill out this short form.