If you understand a bit about cars and accidents, you likely know that there can be T-bone collisions, head-to-head wrecks, and fender benders. There is also the sideswipe collision. We'll discuss the sideswipe collision now, including how it happens, the most likely sideswipe scenarios, and what you might do to prevent it.
How Often Do These Accidents Occur?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also called the NHTSA, states that sideswipe collisions comprise about 3% of national crashes. That is not that much when you think about it. Some of the varieties we just mentioned happen a lot more often than that.
The sideswipe collision is just how it sounds. A car will scrape alongside another vehicle, often damaging both of them. That's dangerous but seldom as deadly as when cars hit each other head-to-head or one vehicle T-bones another.
There are a great many injuries that you're more likely to see from a head-to-head or T-bone car wreck. Injury from a sideswipe collision is certainly possible, but bumps and bruises are more prevalent than broken bones or concussions.
How Do These Accidents Usually Happen?
There is one specific way that this accident variety often happens. This is not the scenario every time, but often, a driver will try to change lanes without checking their blind spot. The blind spot is a section of the vehicle to the driver's left that the driver cannot see by checking their mirrors alone.
When you learn to drive, you learn that you should check that blind spot before you hit the turn signal and switch lanes. This is Basic Driving 101.
However, if you drive for many years, you might become complacent. You might feel like if you have never caused an accident up to this point, that you will never cause one. That can be the moment when you decide to change lanes without checking the blind spot.
If that happens, and you sideswipe another car, it might not be the worst thing in the world. If you're lucky, no injuries will occur, and there will be minimal damage.
The real problem is if the other driver sees you veering into their lane, and they swerve out of their own lane to try to avoid you. They might run off the road that way or hit the vehicle to their left if they're in the middle lane on a highway. You might cause a sideswipe accident, even if you never touch the car next to you.
What Can You Do to Prevent a Sideswipe Collision?
The simplest thing to prevent one of these accidents is to always check your blind spot before you switch lanes. Doing so will let you know if there is a vehicle that came up on your flank while you were not paying attention.
If you do this every time before you change lanes, you will probably never cause a sideswipe collision. Of course, this does not mean that someone next to you might not cause one, but you can never control another person's driving behavior.
If you have kids, and you teach them how to drive when they become teenagers, you can pass on this wisdom as well. If they see you checking your blind spot each time before you change lanes, they will know to do it too.
What Can You Do if You Have Been in a Sideswipe Collision?
Despite your best intentions, another driver might cause a sideswipe collision, scraping along your vehicle's side. If that happens, the first thing you can do is pull over and get out of traffic's path. You will need to shut off your vehicle and communicate with the other driver, assuming they pulled off the road as well.
You can ascertain whether the crash injured you or anyone else in your car. Then, you can call an ambulance if there's a need for one, and the police. You might call 911 and get both the police and medical personnel to come at the same time.
The other driver might be irate about what occurred. Road rage incidents sometimes happen after sideswipe accidents, so make sure to watch what you say at this moment, even if you feel certain the other driver caused the wreck. If they threaten you or you feel like things could turn violent, get back in your car and wait for the cops to get there.
What Happens Next?
At that point, you can give the police a full report of what happened. They will write down your name, license plate number, and get your insurance information as well. You should have adequate insurance, or else you should not be on the road at all.
You'll get all the other driver's info next. Then, you can drive away in your vehicle if the crash did not damage it too badly. If you can't drive it, you can call for a tow truck to take it away.
Once you're safely back home, you can call your insurance company and tell them what happened. You should omit no details, but don't speculate about whether you caused the wreck or not. That admission might hurt you later, so it's best to state facts without talking about fault.
You will have to figure out whether you need to hire a car wreck attorney who can help sort out what happened. Maybe you decide that you want to sue the other driver. That's most likely if your insurance and the other driver's does not cover all your medical bills and your pain and suffering.
Sideswipe collisions happen every day out on the road, and you should know both how to avoid them and what you might do if one still occurs, despite your best efforts. They are seldom lethal, but anything is possible.
Try to follow basic traffic safety laws, and you run less of a risk of ever getting in a sideswipe situation. If it happens to you, just follow the instructions we've laid out.