What Makes Sideswipe Collisions So Dangerous?

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Car accidents can range from relatively minor to severe. Sometimes, vehicles crash into each other head-on or from the side, and other times, they hardly touch. Every accident situation is different, depending on the level of damage, injuries, and potential risks involved.

Rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, and T-bone accidents are some of the most common accidents that can be extremely serious. However, that does not mean these are the only crashes you should worry about.

Less common types of collisions, such as sideswipe accidents, can be equally dangerous. While a sideswipe collision does not result in a high impact between two vehicles, as in most common accidents, the aftermath can be catastrophic.

What Are Sideswipe Accidents?

Sideswipe collisions occur when two cars moving in the same or opposite directions hit each other along their sides. These accidents typically occur when vehicles are traveling parallel to each other, and one or both cars drift into the adjacent lane.

Statistically, sideswipe collisions account for approximately 5% of the about six million motor vehicle accidents that occur every year in the United States. According to the National Safety Commission, nearly 27,000 injuries and over 2,500 fatalities are reported each year due to sideswipes.

What Are the Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents?

Several things can make a vehicle drift into the wrong lane while traveling in the opposite direction with another vehicle. The most common factors include the following:

  • Lane change errors: Lane change errors occur when a driver fails to check their blind spots or misjudges the distance and speed of another vehicle while switching lanes. These errors may involve failure to signal, failure to look, sudden lane change, or improper lane change techniques.

It is crucial to practice safe lane switch techniques such as checking blind spots, using turn signals correctly, and carefully judging the distance and speed of their vehicles before switching lanes to avoid sideswipe accidents.

You can also avoid a sideswipe collision by following all the traffic rules when changing lanes. If you are on a multi-lane road, pay attention to any vehicles you think might drift into your lane.

  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving includes any behavior or activity that shifts a driver’s attention away from the driving task. This involves things that take the driver’s focus and eyes off the road and hands off the steering wheel. A few examples of distracted driving include:
  • Texting or using a cell phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Adjusting vehicle controls
  • Using in-vehicle technologies
  • Applying make-up or combing hair

When drivers are distracted by any of these activities, they may drift into the wrong lane and sideswipe the vehicle next to them. To avoid distracted driving, practice safer driving habits like putting your phone away or on silent mode before driving.

Before hitting the road, take care of any necessary tasks, such as selecting music and setting up temperature controls. You should also avoid multitasking or doing any activity that may divert your attention from driving. It is also advisable to take breaks and limit passenger distractions.

  • Fatigue: Fatigue or drowsy driving is when a driver experiences extreme tiredness or sleepiness when driving. This condition is usually caused by insufficient sleep, untreated sleep disorders, or long periods of driving without rest.

Drowsy driving can significantly impair a driver’s ability to focus and make sound decisions, increasing the risk of a sideswipe accident. A tired driver may experience the following:

  • Reduced attention
  • Slower reaction times
  • Momentary lapses in concentration

To prevent driver fatigue, getting enough sleep before operating a vehicle and taking frequent breaks during long trips is vital. Avoiding driving during times when you would normally be sleeping would also help.

It is also advisable to avoid consuming alcohol or medications that may cause tiredness when driving. If you experience fatigue while driving, finding a safe place to rest or take a break is highly recommended.

  • Impaired driving: Impaired driving is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any substance that affects a driver’s ability to control the vehicle safely. It can also impair the driver’s judgment, focus on the road, spatial awareness, and reaction time, making them more prone to sideswipe accidents.

Consequences of Sideswipe Accidents

Sideswipe collisions can have various consequences, depending on the circumstances of the incident. The biggest risk of this accident is that you or the other driver can lose control of the vehicle, potentially veering off the road and hitting pedestrians, objects, or other hazards.

Sideswipe collisions can also result in damage to the vehicles involved, such as scratches, dents, and shattered windows or mirrors. While sideswipes generally have a lower risk of causing severe injuries than T-bones or head-on collisions, they can still cause significant injuries. Common injuries from this type of accident include bruises, soft tissue injuries, whiplash, and broken bones.

Do You Need Legal Counsel?

Sideswipe accidents can have various effects, including minor to severe injuries that can result in pain, discomfort, and the need for medical treatment. They can also lead to emotional and psychological distress and disruption to an individual’s daily life.

These accidents can result in significant financial burdens. Medical expenses such as medications, hospital stays, rehabilitation costs, and emergency treatments can quickly pile up. A car accident attorney can investigate your accident, provide reliable legal guidance, and get you the compensation you deserve.

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact the Knoxville Car Accident Lawyers at G3 Help Me Today to Get Started.

If you have been injured in a Knoxville car accident due to another person’s negligence, The Law Offices of G. Turner Howard III can help you pursue the compensation you need for your injuries and damages. Call us at (865) 558-8030 for a free consultation with our lead attorney, G. Turner Howard III, to get a case evaluation. You can also contact us online to learn more about our legal services.

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