When it comes to car accidents, there are numerous adjectives and descriptors that are used to classify the type and severity of the accident itself. For example, you might hear someone say that they were in a minor car accident, a “fender bender” as they’re called. You may also hear that someone was in a serious head-on collision; a phrase no one should ever have the misfortune of hearing. Somewhere in-between those extremes is the term, “sideswipe collision.” What is a sideswipe though, and how serious are these types of accidents?
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration defines a sideswipe as, “a collision in which the sides of both vehicles sustain minimal engagements.” That definition doesn’t really capture the nature of these accidents though, or their severity. Imagine you’re driving down a four-lane road when suddenly a car to your side starts drifting into your lane and makes contact with the side of your vehicle; that’s a sideswipe. Some sideswipes occur with vehicles traveling in the same direction, others occur on two-lane roads with cars going in opposite directions.
Though these kinds of crashes are not as dangerous as other accident scenarios, they do still have the potential to be fatal. Studies have shown that head-on crashes and those occurring at an angle have a greater fatality rate, but approximately .75% of sideswipe crashes still result in death. They also accounted for 2.7% of all fatal car accidents in 2016. Surprisingly, this statistic is roughly the same whether or not the vehicles involved are going in opposing directions. This may be in part due to a sideswiped vehicle losing control and hitting another object with a greater force than the initial vehicle contact. Even light contact can cause a driver to lose control, especially if they panic and try to over-correct. Regardless, sideswipes are unexpected and often the result of a driver’s negligence. If you’ve been involved in an accident of this type, you should speak with an experienced auto accident attorney.
Two big culprits behind sideswipe accidents are distracted driving and a failure to be aware of blind spots. A driver who’s on their phone or looking for something in their vehicle may find that their automobile is drifting to the side. This could cause them to veer into another lane and hit another motorist. Newer models of cars are equipped with lane departure warnings and blind spot detection to help prevent these accidents from occurring. This technology is not a substitute though for a driver’s sense of awareness. Anyone driving a vehicle should be aware of where its blind spots are and actively check them before changing lanes. Additionally, some states, Arizona included, have been placing rumble strips in the middle of two-lane roads to alert drivers who are veering too far off to the left. Ideally, a driver should not be in a position to run into them, but they do serve as a means of alerting a motorist to potential danger. Even with all these measures, accidents still happen. If one happens to you, a lawyer may be your best option for recovering the cost of your repair and medical bills.
Even with their comparatively low fatality rate, sideswipe collisions can still leave you injured and your car in disrepair. Getting your vehicle fixed and obtaining the proper medical treatment may require money you don’t have. At ELG Law, there are no out of pocket costs and we only charge our fee if we win your case. Call us at 623-321-0566 for a free consultation today. Car accidents can come at you from seemingly out of nowhere, but we’re right here to take your case.