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Understanding the Most Common Types of Car Accidents in North Carolina

Car accidents can happen at any time to drivers who are new or have many years of experience. According to data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, there were a total of 276,026 reported accidents in NC in 2021. Tragically, 1,783 people in a car, pedestrians or cyclists were killed in these accidents and another 114,722 people were injured in some way. 2021 saw a large increase in Mecklenburg County’s fatality rate over the 10-year average (138 in 2021, with the 10-year average at 91). 

The most common types of car accidents in North Carolina include:

Rear-end collisions: Rear-end collisions occur when one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle. These are among the most common types of car accidents and are caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Distracted driving: This is one of the most common reasons for crashes and includes activities such as texting, eating, or changing the music while behind the wheel. When drivers are not paying attention to the road, they are more likely to rear end another vehicle.
  • Tailgating: When drivers follow too closely, they don’t leave enough room for reaction if the vehicle in front of them stops or slows down suddenly. 
  • Speeding: Failure to reduce speed was a contributing circumstance in 66,640 crashes in North Carolina in 2021. When drivers are going too fast, they may not have enough time when something happens in front of them, like a deer jumping out on the road or a car in front of them suddenly slamming on their brakes. Driving too fast for weather conditions, which affects the road surfaces and can limit visibility also leads to many crashes each year.

Side-impact collisions: Side-impact collisions or T-bone accidents, occur when one vehicle hits the side of another at a right angle. These types of accidents can be particularly dangerous, because the sides of vehicles offer less protection than the front or back. They are most often caused by a driver running a red light or failing to yield to the right-of-way. When drivers fail to stop or yield at a traffic light or sign, they are at risk of colliding with another vehicle that has the right of way and is traveling through the intersection. Failing to yield to pedestrians or cyclists can also have tragic consequences for everyone involved.

Head-on collisions: Head-on collisions are perhaps the most serious and deadly type of car accident. These types of accidents occur when two vehicles collide while traveling in opposite directions. The added speed and momentum of both vehicles multiplies the force on impact. Head-on collisions are often caused by driver error, such as: 

  • Crossing the center line: This can occur when a driver drifts into the oncoming lane, either because they are distracted or because they are attempting to pass another vehicle.
  • Attempting to pass on a two-lane road: When drivers try to pass on a two-lane road, they are at risk of colliding with an oncoming vehicle if they do not see an oncoming car or they miscalculate how much time and distance is needed to pass another car safely.
  • Alcohol or drug impairment: When drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they are more likely to make mistakes or drive erratically, which can have deadly results.

If you are involved in a car accident, it's important to remain calm and take the following steps:

  • Check for injuries: The first priority is to make sure that everyone is safe. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911.
  • Call the police: “It's important to call the police to report an accident, even if the damage is minor. This will ensure that there is a record of the accident and can help you protect your rights,” advises Corey Rosensteel, an attorney with Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC.
  • Exchange information: Share your information with the other driver, including your name, contact information, and insurance information and get all of their information as well.
  • Take pictures: If possible, take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles and the surrounding area.
  • Contact a lawyer if you’re injured: the insurance companies do not have your best interest at heart. Contact someone who is ethically obligated to act in your best interest.

In some cases, it may be necessary to contact a Charlotte accident attorney immediately after being involved in a car accident, but often we’re able to help people who contact us in the days and weeks following. If you've been injured and believe that the other party is at fault, an attorney can help you gather evidence and build a case to seek compensation for your injuries. A lawyer can also help you navigate through the legal process and protect your rights. If you're unsure about your case or what you should do next, call Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC today at 1-704-714-1450 for a free consultation about your situation.

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