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The Most Common Types of Colorado Car Crashes – And How to Avoid Them

March 1, 2024
Car accidents
Denver police at an accident scene in Denver

Photo credit: Aranami / Flickr

Car crashes are a leading cause of injury and death worldwide. And because we often call them “accidents,” it can be easy to assume that car crashes are unpredictable, unavoidable impacts that could never be avoided. But that is far from the truth. Most of the car crash cases that I see in my Denver Personal Injury Office are entirely preventable. And some types of crashes are so common that they seem predictable.

Understanding the most common types of car crashes can help drivers take proactive steps to avoid them, enhancing road safety for everyone. This article explores the most common types of car crashes that I see in my personal injury practice, and offers some practical advice on how you can prevent them.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another. These are among the most frequent accidents on the road, often resulting from tailgating or the rear driver’s failure to pay attention. Injuries can range from whiplash to more severe outcomes, especially at high speeds.

How to Prevent Rear-End Collisions

  • Maintain a safe following distance using the “three-second rule,” which involves staying at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.
  • Stay alert and focused on the road, avoiding distractions such as mobile phones.
  • Regularly check your car’s brake lights to ensure they are functioning correctly, alerting drivers behind you when you’re slowing down.

T-Bone or Side-Impact Collisions

T-bone collisions happen when the side of one vehicle is hit by the front or rear of another vehicle. These accidents are particularly common at intersections and can result in significant injuries due to the limited protection provided by the sides of vehicles. The person or people who are in the car that gets hit from the side are very vulnerable.

How to Prevent T-Bone or Side-Impact Collisions

  • Always obey traffic signals and signs. In Denver, I see so many people run yellow-turning-red lights and that is a moment of immense risk. Just stop and wait for the next green light.
  • Exercise extra caution at intersections, even if you have the right of way.
  • Look both ways before proceeding through an intersection, even after the light turns green. Because so many people in Denver blow through red lights, the first cars into the intersection after a green light need to be extremely cautious. Just because the light is green doesn’t mean the oncoming traffic has stopped.

Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions, while less common, are among the deadliest. They occur when the fronts of two vehicles collide. These crashes often result from a driver veering into oncoming traffic, possibly due to distraction, fatigue, or impairment. I’ve also seen people, who are confused about our many one-way roads, take a wrong turn and head straight into oncoming traffic. In this scenario, the people approaching the turned-around car need to do all they can to alert the driver to the mistake and give them space to turn around.

How to Prevent Head-On Collisions

  • Avoid distractions and focus solely on driving.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or when excessively tired.
  • If you see a vehicle coming towards you in your lane, reduce your speed, pull over to the right, and honk your horn to alert the other driver.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

Single-vehicle accidents involve only one vehicle and can include crashes into barriers, trees, or other obstacles. Causes range from driver distraction to poor road conditions.

How to Prevent Single-Vehicle Accidents

  • Drive cautiously in adverse weather conditions, adjusting your speed to match road conditions.
  • Stay focused on the road, avoiding any form of distraction.
  • Regularly maintain your vehicle to ensure it’s in good working condition, paying special attention to tires and brakes.

Multi-Vehicle Pile-Ups

Multi-vehicle pile-ups are large-scale accidents involving several vehicles. These often occur on highways or freeways in poor visibility or slippery conditions. The chain-reaction nature of these crashes can make them particularly dangerous.

How to Prevent Multi-Vehicle Pile-Ups

  • In bad weather or low visibility, reduce your speed and increase your following distance.
  • Stay alert to what’s happening far ahead on the road, not just the vehicle in front of you.
  • If traffic slows suddenly, use hazard lights to warn drivers behind you.

Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents, though less common, are often severe and can result from a variety of factors, including sharp turns at high speeds or collisions with another vehicle or obstacle. SUVs and taller vehicles are more susceptible to rollovers due to their higher center of gravity. Recently, I saw a car rollover on 8th Avenue between Monaco and Colorado Boulevard! The speed limit on that road is 30, but this car must have been going far above that speed to rollover.

How to Prevent Rollover Accidents

  • Avoid sudden, sharp turns, especially at high speeds.
  • Load your vehicle properly, ensuring heavy items are low and spread out to avoid shifts in weight.
  • Understand the limits of your vehicle, especially if driving an SUV or taller vehicle prone to rollovers.

Pedestrian and Cyclist Accidents

Accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists can occur when drivers fail to yield, especially in urban areas and near crosswalks and bike lanes. Sadly, pedestrian hit-and-runs are becoming more and more common in Denver and it’s very scary and frustrating. If auto drivers would just proceed cautiously through intersections, we could literally save lives. It doesn’t seem like too much to aks.

How to Prevent Pedestrian and Cyclist Accidents

  • Always yield to pedestrians and cyclists, especially in crosswalks and bike lanes.
  • Be particularly vigilant in urban areas, school zones, and residential neighborhoods.
  • Check mirrors and blind spots for cyclists, especially when turning or changing lanes.

Understanding and being vigilant about the most common types of car crashes is crucial for all drivers. By following the prevention tips outlined above, you can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in an accident. Remember, safe driving is not just about protecting yourself; it’s about ensuring the safety of everyone on the road. If you’ve been injured in a Denver car crash and need advice, please call or text The O’Sullivan Law Firm today. 303-388-5304

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