Written on Apr 15, 2022 11:15:00 AM
Most Common Types of Car Accidents & Injuries Plus the Reasons Behind Them
Car accidents in Florida can happen anytime, anywhere, and for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, they tend to happen frequently in the Sunshine State. In fact, Florida ranks third in the nation for car accidents. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the most common types of car accidents, typical car accident injuries, the reasons car accidents occur, and what you should do if you’ve been involved in an automobile accident in Florida.
Five Most Common Types of Car Accidents
1. Low-Speed Impact
A car accident can happen at any speed, and low-speed accidents tend to be described as fender-benders and bumps. A low-speed impact is generally defined as a collision under the speed of ten miles per hour. Usually, these types of accidents happen while moving slowly in bumper-to-bumper traffic, backing out of a driveway or parking area, or while driving through residential neighborhoods.
2. Frontal Impact
A frontal impact accident typically involves trees, animals, cars, or other obstructions on the road. Unless the driver is distracted, they usually see the oncoming danger, even if just for a moment. Research shows that people who are aware of an impending collision and have time to brace for impact have better long-term outcomes and less injury. Bracing for impact can help absorb some of the shock of the impact, and helps muscles in your neck protect ligaments, discs, and nerves.
3. Rear Impact
An impact from the rear is almost as likely as a collision to the front of a vehicle. An accident that happens to the rear of the car is almost always caused by the driver behind the impacted car, usually due to distraction or intentional tailgating. That’s why fault in a rear-end auto collision is usually attributed to the driver in the rear, who hit the car in front of them. However, this is not always the case. For instance, the driver in the rear is not likely to be found at fault if another car merged unsafely in front of them, cut them off, or slammed on their brakes unexpectedly. If you’ve been rear-ended, you’ll want to check out this blog on rear-end accidents.
4. Side Collision
Side collisions are often more dangerous than others since many cars don’t have side airbags to protect the driver or any passengers from the sideways blow. The danger of the impact also increases due to the likelihood of shattering glass. However, today more vehicles are being produced with side airbags designed to reduce crash forces on a vehicle during side crashes. This side airbag uses precrash sensors to detect an imminent side-impact and deploys a large external airbag from under the side sill of the vehicle to cover the driver and rear passenger doors.
5. Intersectional Collision or “T-Bone” Accidents
These accidents typically occur when a driver runs through a red light or stop sign, unaware of traffic turning ahead of them. In an intersection, a car can be hit from almost any direction. A car taking a left turn without yielding to oncoming traffic may also be a reason for such a collision. The cause of an intersectional accident is almost always very easy to determine. Florida sees many accidents of this type, especially in the aforementioned left turning lane. While primarily caused by driver negligence, these collisions can also be influenced by driver distraction, impairment, fatigue, roadside distractions, and weather conditions.
Five Most Common Injuries from Car Accidents in Florida
According to data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 341,399 traffic crashes in 2020 resulting in more than 352,000 injuries (drivers and passengers). Long story short, car accidents and accident injuries are an all-too-common occurrence in Florida. One question that many people have is: “what kind of injuries are the most common from car accidents in Florida?”
The nature and severity of injuries that may be suffered can vary depending on a number of factors, such as speed, safety equipment used, types of vehicles involved in the accident, road conditions, and other factors. Common injuries from a car accident in Florida include (but are not limited to):
1. Neck Injuries (Whiplash)
This type of injury is highly common in head-on or rear-end collisions where the force of impact can send your head/body forward or backward suddenly. What many people don’t realize is that even low-impact “fender bender” accidents can cause mild whiplash with a delayed onset of symptoms. According to urgentcarefl.com, signs of whiplash you may need to watch out for include “low back pain, nausea, blurred vision, headaches, and shoulder pain.” Injuries can range from minor to major depending on the speed of the impact itself. Read more in our blog on whiplash.
2. Traumatic Brain Injury
Especially severe crashes have been known to cause brain trauma in victims. According to SpinalCord.com, traumatic brain injury or TBI “A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is damage to the brain which has been caused by an external force or factor, such as an accident, and includes the subsequent internal complications they can cause, such as tissue damage and swelling and lack of oxygen to the brain.” These injuries are particularly difficult to deal with, as they can impair motor function, reasoning, and memory retention, and may be life-threatening. It’s hard to predict how brain trauma can affect you, so it’s very important to get a thorough medical examination if you suffer any form of head injury in an accident.
3. Spinal Cord and Back Injury
Even with modern safety equipment, spinal injuries can still occur in an accident that’s severe enough. Spinalcord.com writes, “A spinal cord injury (SCI) is the result of damage to any portion of the spinal cord or the nerves at the base of the spine. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerve fibers and tissue which lies within the spine forming the brain’s connection to the body. Damage to any part of the spinal cord can impact sensory, motor, and reflex capabilities if the brain is unable to send information past the location of the injury. The higher the injury occurs, the more severe the damage. Immediate medical care is necessary if you have a spinal injury, and great care has to be taken to avoid making these injuries worse.
4. Broken Bones
Car accidents can be incredibly violent events. Your bones, muscles, and organs can be exposed to extreme amounts of force when your car is hit. Modern safety systems such as seat belts, airbags, side bags, crumple zones, and the like can help cushion the impact, but there’s only so much these systems can do to protect you.
It is very common for bones to be fractured or broken during an accident. Arm, hand, skull, leg, and rib bones can all be broken on impact. When such breaks occur, internal organs may also be injured. In any accident resulting in a broken bone, seek medical treatment right away. If you notice sharp pains in your chest when you breathe, or notice swelling and excessive bruising, that could be a warning sign of a broken or fractured rib.
5. Psychological Trauma
One of the less obvious forms of injury that can occur as a result of an accident is psychological trauma. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a possible after-effect of the shock and trauma suffered in an auto accident—particularly if the accident caused severe injury or the loss of a loved one.
This could manifest in many ways. As noted by urgentcarefl.com, “flashbacks, reoccurring dreams, heightened anxiety and development of a temperament or unpredictable mood swings are all possible side effects” of crash-related psychological trauma. Getting treatment for psychological trauma is often more difficult than getting treatment for a broken bone or other physical injuries—the scars left by psychological trauma are invisible to most, and you may not even know the cause of the trauma for certain.
15 Most Common Reasons for Car Accidents in Florida
According to Florida government estimates, texting while driving claims more than 17 lives in the Sunshine State alone every month. While texting and driving may be lawfully banned in Florida, people continue to break this law, even though it is a high cause of car accidents and even death. Do not let yourself text and drive. Texting takes your attention away from driving and greatly increases your chances of getting into a car accident. Read more about Florida’s texting and driving laws.
2. Blind Spots
Blind spots are one of the most dangerous parts of the car because the driver cannot see the vehicles around them. Most accidents happen when a driver changes lanes and hits a vehicle that was in their blind spot. Be sure to look in all of your mirrors to be aware of your blind spot and look over your shoulder when changing lanes. Also, try to stay out of the blind spots of other drivers.
3. Distracted Driving
One of the leading causes of crashes in the United States is distracted driving, and this is especially true in Florida. In fact, the Sunshine State is ranked second in the nation for most car accidents resulting from distracted driving. Distracted driving is driving while also being engaged in an activity that diverts your attention from the road. Although texting is commonly associated with distracted drivers, there are other activities that cause car accidents, such as :
- Reaching for an object
- Writing and reading
- Putting on makeup or grooming
- Talking on the phone
- Using the GPS system
- Adjusting the radio
- Talking/interacting with the other passengers
- Handling a pet (read about securing your dog here)
Taking your eyes off the road to simply glance at a text can result in loss of life. If you must talk on the phone, pull over and make the call; create music playlists, eat, and groom before you get in the car; secure your pets, and map out your drive ahead of time. Focus your attention only on the road when you are driving. It may save a life.
Exceeding the speed limit when you are running late may seem harmless, but it is a major cause of car accident fatalities nationwide. According to the NHTSA, for more than two decades speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. In 2019, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities. Speed also affects your safety even when you are driving at the speed limit but too fast for road conditions, such as during bad weather, when a road is under repair, or in an area at night that isn’t well lit.
5. Going Too Slow
While speeding can be dangerous, so can driving too slowly. Studies have consistently shown that the drivers most likely to get into accidents in traffic are those traveling significantly below the average speed. According to an Institute of Transportation Engineers Study, those driving 10 mph slower than the prevailing speed are six times as likely to be involved in an accident. Read more on this speed limit fact sheet.
Alcohol and drugs impair a driver's judgment, meaning he or she will not be able to make a quick decision if necessary; it also impairs reactionary ability and muscle coordination, reducing a driver’s ability to stop quickly before an impending accident. More than 10,000 people are killed each year in drunk driving accidents, and hundreds of thousands more are injured. Thankfully, a heightened awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, steeper fines and penalties, and rideshare options such as Uber and Lyft have helped to reduce these numbers over the years. If you drink, be sure to have a safe ride home.
7. Reckless Driving
Reckless Driving in Florida is “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner demonstrating a willful or wanton disregard for safety.” As a criminal offense, Reckless Driving can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Reckless driving is often attributed to excessive speeds (far above what is considered “speeding”) along with other reckless behaviors, such as traveling in the middle of the road; driving through a crowded residential area; passing improperly; failing to reduce speed prior to impact; disregarding the presence of children; and failing to look for pedestrians.
8. Road Rage
Road rage happens when drivers become angered and provoked by other vehicles on the road who make mistakes, fail to signal, or execute another frustrating driving maneuver. A driver who displays road rage may display aggressive and violent behavior as a way to retaliate against other drivers. Check out these Road Rage statistics from AAA:
- 47% of drivers have yelled at another traffic participant
- 45% of drivers have excessively honked to express their anger.
- 33% of drivers have made offensive gestures as a result of road rage.
- 24% of drivers have tried to prevent another car from switching lanes.
- 12% of drivers admit to cutting off other cars on purpose.
- 4% of drivers have exited their cars in order to verbally or physically confront another traffic participant.
- 3% of drivers have purposefully hit another car in a road rage fit.
Always try to keep a cool head when behind the wheel to avoid road rage accidents and incidents!
While we do not need to worry about snow in Florida, weather conditions can still obstruct our view and impact our vehicle’s stability, leading to accidents. In fact, the US Department of Transportation reports that rain and wet roadways are the cause of more car accidents every year than other weather conditions. Inclement weather conditions in Florida include:
- Heavy rain
- High winds
- Hail or sleet
8. Construction Accidents
Every construction zone is different. So, even experienced drivers can have trouble anticipating what lies ahead in order to properly navigate around it, no matter how many signs and cones offer direction. The danger is compounded even more at night. Many large construction projects are often performed after dark so as not to disrupt the normal flow of traffic during the day, but the bright lights construction crews use to help them can sometimes unintentionally blind oncoming traffic.
9. Disobeying Signs and Signals
Whether it’s a stop sign or a traffic light, disobeying signs and signals – or intentionally running through them – causes many accidents in Florida. Take the time to follow the rules of the road, and if necessary, leave your house early to get to your destination on time regardless of the amount of traffic.
10. Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving may obviously be caused by lack of sleep, but it can also be the result of medications, sleep disorders, shift work, or drinking alcohol. Sleepiness contributes to slowed reaction times and lapses in attention, which makes driving while tired even more dangerous. 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy, according to a poll by National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America. Even more alarming is that 37% of Americans admit to having fallen asleep in the past year while behind the wheel. If you begin to feel tired, get yourself to the nearest motel for a quick nap. If you must keep driving, grab yourself a cup of coffee to keep you awake. Read more about drowsy driving.
11. Mechanical Failure
Although modern vehicles are manufactured with strict safety standards, car accidents due to mechanical failures still cause injury and death. While the vast majority of auto accidents are due to decisions made by drivers, mechanical failure is still a direct and indirect cause of accidents (read about what to do if a vehicle recall fails and causes an accident). The top two mechanical failures that cause car accidents:
- Tires/Wheels. These account for 35% of all accidents due to mechanical failure. Two of the most frequent types of problems with tires are tire blowouts and worn tires.
- Brakes. Faulty brake lines, anti-lock brake malfunctions, and worn brake pads and discs are attributed to 22% of car accidents due to mechanical failure.
Other mechanical-related accidents can be caused by steering and suspension issues, broken headlights or taillights, faulty windshield wipers, and engine failure.
12. Poor Maintenance
Although mechanical problems may occur through no fault of the driver, too often a vehicle fails in some regard because the owner didn’t properly maintain the vehicle. To avoid car accidents, get your car checked often and ensure its proper maintenance. And remember: Florida's hot climate can cause vehicle fluids to break down more rapidly. Check fluid levels monthly, especially in the summer months, and refill or replace as necessary. Perform regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure your vehicle is dependable and keeps you safe on the road. Read more from Florida Highway Safety.
Ever wonder why so many accidents happen close to home? Often it’s because drivers become overconfident and essentially drive on autopilot when in their comfort zones. There is a tendency for texting, multitasking, not wearing a seat belt, sending emails, dialing a call, or eating a snack while coming back home or leaving home early in the morning, which can lead to an accident. So, always stay alert even when you’re on your home turf.
Accidents caused by animals on the road happen more often than you might think. Florida, despite having some of the lowest rates of deer accidents, still has its share of critters on the road that cause people to swerve or collide, including alligators, raccoons, bears, and possums.
15. Underage Driving
In residential areas, kids may successfully sneak out in their parents’ car or the parents themselves may allow some “test driving” before their child has a license. The combination of insecurity and inexperience is dangerous, leading to underage driving accidents.
Involved in a Florida Auto Accident? Contact Lowman Law Firm!
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident – regardless of the circumstances or the injury – and need to speak to an auto accident attorney, contact the experts at Lowman Law Firm. Our auto accident attorneys serve all of Florida, with offices in Citrus County, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, and Pasco County. Not able to come to us? We’ll come to you! Our compassionate Florida hometown team offers free home and hospital consultations. And, there’s never a fee until you win your case.