Car rear-ended in the middle of a road

Anatomy of A Car Crash

Robert Edwards Feb. 21, 2022

In the online journal Slate on January 26, 2022 was an article with the same title as above. The author analyzed data from a study that was actually completed by the University of Michigan and published in 2008. That study looked at data from 6950 crashes and came up with 6 of the most common crash scenarios. They are as follows:

The Rolling Turn on Red

We all are guilty of this unfortunately. We pull up to the light and don't quite come to a stop while we look to our left to see if there is traffic coming so that we can safely make the turn. What happens, sadly, is that a pedestrian steps in front of the vehicle and gets hit. The rolling right on red now accounts for 6% of all pedestrian fatalities and 21% of those are children. Even when a car is moving slowly, children have a 4 times greater chance of dying than adults.

Falling Asleep at the Wheel

It is now estimated that 7% of all car crashes and 20% of fatal crashes happen to drowsy drivers. Recent surveys found that 37% of all drivers admitted falling asleep while driving at least once in their lives, and 11% during the past year.

Loss of Control

A classic study showed that 50% of all drivers rank themselves in the top 20% of driver safety and skill. Aggressive maneuvering and taking a sharp curve to fast account for about 5% of crashes. Another 2% happen when we don't slow down for water on the road.

The Blind Left-Hand Turn

In this situation we are trying to make a left turn at an intersection and there is a huge bus, truck, or SUV blocking our view of what's coming in the other direction. We proceed to make the turn and then the crash occurs involving the vehicle that should have had the right-of-way that we didn't see. 12% of all crashes happen in this situation.

The Rear End Crash

It seems obvious that the number one rule of driving is don't crash into the person ahead of you. Yet as simple as that sounds this scenario accounts for between 23% and 30% of all car crashes. Hopefully frontal crash avoidance technology, which is optional now on most vehicles, will become standard in the near future and put a huge dent in this unnecessary loss.

Distracted Lane or Road Departure

33% of all crashes happen when we don't stay in our lane or even on the road. Multitask getting seems to be the root cause of the majority of these crashes. Humans are not natural performers when it comes to keeping and I on anything and even less so when we are trying to look at several things at once. The solution here is to put the phone down and pay attention.