There are many factors that determine the severity and outcome of an accident. Speed, road conditions, type of vehicle, vehicle condition, etc. all determine whether an accident will be a “fender bender,” or lead to a fatality. Among the most important factors determining whether an accident will be minor or lethal is the point of impact.
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The following are among the most common types of auto accidents Chicago auto accident attorney’s assist clients with:
Collisions with Fixed Objects
Guardrails, walls, trees, and other fixed structures can be easily hit when a vehicle veers off the road. In 2013, there were 898,000 collisions with fixed objects. These accounted for 15.8% of all automobile accidents. These accidents caused 10,014 fatalities; a figure that represents 33% of all vehicular fatalities that year. That same year, these types of accidents caused 272,000 injuries accounting for 17.1% of the overall injury rate.
Angled Point of Impact
Vehicles struck at an angle cause the greatest number of injuries and fatalities on American roadways. These accidents often occur in intersections and along rural roads.
In 2013, these caused 5,394 fatalities which represented 17.9% of all fatalities that year. These accidents also resulted in 415,000 injuries, a rate that represented 26.1% for the year. Nationwide, 20% of all vehicle collisions occur at an angle.
Head-on collisions are most common on rural roads where lanes are undivided. They account for Many are caused when drivers attempt to pass other, slower moving vehicles. If both vehicles are traveling at Illinois’ maximum highway speed of 70 mph, it means the speed at time of impact is 140 mph. This enhanced speed makes head-on collisions exceedingly lethal.
In 2013, there were 2,808 fatalities, and 66,000 injuries caused by head-on collisions. Head-on collisions account for 9.3% of all auto accident fatalities, and 4.1% of all injuries.
SUV’s, vans, and commercial trucks have a very different center of gravity than smaller, passenger vehicles. This higher center of gravity and the weight distribution of the vehicle makes them prone to rollover accidents. When traveling fast around sharp corners, these vehicles may rollover onto its side, or if traveling faster, completely rollover. When this happens, vehicle occupants can be crushed or trapped inside the vehicle.
In 2013, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that vehicle rollovers accounted for 2,720, or 9% of all vehicle accident fatalities. A further 33,000 people were injured, which represented 3.9% of injuries that year.
Rear end accidents are caused when a vehicle is following too closely, traveling too fast for conditions, or if the vehicle that is hit suddenly brakes in the middle of the road. These types of accidents caused 1,806 vehicle fatalities in 2013. These represented 6% of all fatalities for the year. They also caused 503,000 head, neck, and back injuries which accounted for 31.6% of all injuries.
Sideswiping / T-Boning
Sideswiping often occurs when two vehicles meet at an intersection and one fails to yield the right-of-way. The danger is greatest for those who are seated on the side of the vehicle where the impact occurs. In 2013, 757 people were killed in side impact collisions. These accounted for 2.5% of all accident fatalities. A further 89,000 were injured, accounting for 5.6% of all injuries.
Vehicle to Pedestrian/Cyclist Collisions
If an accident involves a pedestrian or cyclist, the results can be catastrophic. In 2014, 4,884 pedestrians and 726 cyclists were struck and killed by automobiles. While most of these accidents occur at low-speed, the size and velocity of a moving vehicle can easily cause serious injury or death. While pedestrian deaths are declining, cyclist deaths are increasing as more people seek eco-friendly ways to commute to work and run errands.
Other Types of Collisions
Collisions between animals, parked vehicles, trains, etc. are less common, but equally dangerous. In 2013, 273,000 collisions with animals resulted in 180 deaths and 14,000 injuries. Many of these were caused when the animals crashed through windshields and injured the vehicle occupants. In these accidents, the size of the animal, the location of impact, the type of vehicle, and the speed the vehicle was traveling heavily influenced the overall survivability of the accident.
In 2014, 32,675 people were killed in automobile accidents on American roads. A further 2.3 million were injured. Overall, the United States has a vehicular fatality rate of 1.07 deaths per million miles driven.
In Illinois, Chicago auto accident attorneys believe that the rate of fatal automobile accidents is declining due to enhanced driver’s education, improved vehicle safety features, and better roads. However, these statistics show that while driving is becoming safer, it’s still far from safe. As such, drivers should exercise considerable caution when venturing out onto the highway, or simply driving downtown for a shopping trip.