Sideswipe crashes can be minor in terms of property damage or injuries to drivers and passengers. These are the sideswipe crashes that typically come to mind for most of us. But sideswipe crashes can also be very serious, causing serious injuries to everyone involved and significant damage to the vehicles involved. A number of sideswipe accidents can also end up involving several other vehicles and far more damage. The IIHS reports that 242,000 sideswipe crashes occur every year. According to the National Safety Council, sideswipe crashes result in approximately 27,000 injuries and 2,500 fatalities every year.
Sideswipe crashes occur when two vehicles are driving beside each other in the same direction (or the opposite direction) and the sides of the two vehicles contact one another. Sideswipe crashes often lead to a second crash with another vehicle, a guardrail, a concrete barrier, light posts, trees, or signs on the side of the road. These accidents are very dangerous when the vehicles are traveling at a high speed on a highway.
Common Causes of Sideswipe Crashes
A sideswipe accident can occur anywhere. Among the most common locations and events for sideswipe crashes include:
- Drivers sideswipe parked (occupied and unoccupied) vehicles before the parked car merges into moving traffic.
- When cars are driving in opposite directions of city streets and one vehicle crosses the center line and tries to avoid a head-on crash by swerving at the last minute. The car then strikes the other vehicle on its side.
- One driver “drifts” into another lane while driving distracted.
- One driver swerves to avoid hitting an object or animal in the road.
- A driver tries to change lanes or merge into traffic without signaling.
- Drivers sideswipe other vehicles at intersections while trying to turn.
- Drivers cause sideswipe accidents when they misjudge space available for a maneuver or to cut in front of another car.
- Drowsiness or driver fatigue.
- Alcohol or drug impairment.
- Failure to double-check blind spots.
Common Injuries from Sideswipe Crashes
Several types of injuries are associated with sideswipe accidents. The nature and severity of the injuries is often determined by the speed at which the vehicles were traveling at the time of the accident. Injuries from sideswipes of vehicles of significantly different heights typically cause head, upper thorax injury. The most common injuries from sideswipe crashes are:
- Traumatic brain injury.
- Spinal and spinal cord injury.
- Closed head injury
- Broken bones on the side of the body that coincides with the side of the vehicle hit.
- Lacerations and penetrating injuries from glass or metal from the side of the car.
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement.
- Loss of a primary bodily function.
Serious injuries in sideswipe accidents occur in part because of the design and protective technologies in our vehicles. The presence of large windows on the sides of cars limit the types of protective technologies that can be installed on the sides of vehicles. The severity of some injuries is mitigated by side airbags if they have been installed in a particular vehicle. Significant progress has been made in strengthening the sides of cars to help them to survive a sideswipe crash. Other technologies are helping to reduce the injuries sustained in a sideswipe crash. Finally, new technologies alert drivers to a range of alerts when another vehicle is approaching. Some of the newest vehicles also include the technology to keep a car in its lane and slow it down when a potential crash is perceived.
New safety technology has greatly improved the survivability of many car crashes, including sideswipe crashes. Driving defensively when alert and undistracted may help us to avoid sideswipe crashes until the needed technology can be developed.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a sideswipe crash or any vehicle accident due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, and through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Call Altizer Law in Roanoke, VA to schedule your free initial consultation. Bettina Altizer and her team of experts have been helping injured persons to obtain the maximum compensation for their damages for more than 30 years. We understand the time and cost of recovery from a serious injury. We know that when rebuilding a life, legal action and negotiation with insurance companies is about the money.