hands protecting chalk drawing of car

4 Common Collisions And How To Avoid Them

Fender benders happen. And, it turns out, many of them happen the same way.

While it’s always essential to take precautions behind the wheel, being extra aware of these common collisions could help you avoid them in the first place.

So here’s a breakdown of four of the most common types of collisions, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with driving tips to help you steer clear of trouble while out on the road.

Front-Impact Collisions

front-impact collisionWhat They Are

Front-impact collisions—when the front end of a vehicle hits another vehicle or something on the side of the road, like a tree or telephone pole—accounted for 57 percent of serious crashes in 2019, according to the IIHS.

How To Avoid Them

Front-impact crashes are often caused by slippery roads or other weather-related factors, so it’s important to adjust your driving to fit the conditions, says Russ Rader, IIHS’s senior vice president of communications. Translation: Drive slower in rain and snow, to give yourself more time to react if your car suddenly loses control. And avoid anything that could divert your attention from the road. “Stay off the cell phone, of course, but fiddling with the radio or even talking to a passenger can be a distraction,” says Rader. “Remain focused on the task at hand.” (See more surprising causes of distracted driving.)

Lane-keeping systems also help reduce the frequency of front-impact collisions, according to the IIHS. This feature alerts the driver or even automatically steers a car if it ventures outside of its lane.

We're here to help, 24/7.

Side-Impact Collisions

side-impact collisionWhat They Are

Side-impact collisions can be either a classic “T-bone” or a sideswipe. The former often occurs at intersections, usually as the result of some sort of confusion regarding which vehicle has the right of way. Sideswipes usually involve a side impact between cars driving parallel to one another in different lanes. According to the IIHS, 23 percent of serious crashes in 2019 were side-impact ones.

How To Avoid Them

Time-tested defensive-driving techniques can go a long way toward reducing your risk. To guard against the classic “T-bone,” be extra vigilant, and always look both ways at stop signs and stoplights—don’t speed to try to catch the yellow light. “When you’re late, you’re more likely to push it and run a red light,” says Rader. To help avoid a sideswipe, always check your blind spot before changing lanes and, when passing cars, be alert for other drivers changing lanes unexpectedly.

Rear-End Collisions

rear-end collisionWhat They Are

Motorists are prone to rear-end collisions in heavy commuter traffic on highways and thoroughfares. The most common causes are driving too fast or too aggressively, or failing to leave sufficient space between you and the vehicle in front of you, according to Rader.

How To Avoid Them

Watch your speed and give yourself plenty of distance, in case the driver ahead suddenly slams on the brakes. To avoid being rear-ended by tailgaters, slow down, move to the right lane if it’s safe to do so, and calmly let them pass. Today’s automatic braking technology can also help keep you safe. Forward-collision warning systems—which provide audible tones or visual alerts to help the driver swerve or brake before a collision occurs—can reduce rear-impact crashes.

Parking Lot Collisions

parking lot collisionWhat They Are

Dented bumpers are all too common in busy parking lots. They may happen when a car is backing out of a parking spot or where there are multiple cars moving in different directions.

How To Avoid Them

“In parking lots, it can be really difficult to see around you—especially when backing up,” says Rader. His advice: Take a moment to check out your surroundings before getting in the car to pull out of a parking space. If you can, park in a spot farther away from other cars. And if your vehicle has a rearview camera, that’s great—but don’t rely on technology alone to keep your ride scratch-free. “The image on the screen can be distorted by bright sunlight or shadows,” says Rader. “Always use your mirrors as well.”

If you’re ever in an accident (and we hope you never will be), you can have peace of mind knowing your GEICO auto insurance makes the claim process as smooth and painless as possible. You can report and track your claim online, over the phone or via the GEICO Mobile app—whichever is easiest for you. Plus, find out how GEICO’s convenient Auto Repair Xpress® program makes the process as simple as 1, 2, 3!

Read More: Lane-keeping and automatic braking aren’t the only safety innovations. Check out these 5 hi-tech safety features that could soon be standard.

By Rod O’Connor

Get GEICO Auto insurance.

    Leave a comment

  1. Annie winfrey R. says,

    very good example on how too avoid and accident. I will keep my eyes on the road and watch out for the other drivers .thank for those good tips

  2. michael hogan says,

    Parking lot collisions: ONE. Back-up red lights should flash (versus solid red) like the jeep vehicle’s appear to do. TWO, Have a seperate area for vans and pick-ups.

  3. WES WICK says,

    In parking lots it’s helpful to find a spot where you can pull through and exit your spot going forward, instead of backing up. ‘Never put your car in R’ is my brother-in-law’s motto. Not always possible or practical, but I’m sure it would save many parking lot accidents.

  4. Clague Bruening says,

    Parking lots – Avoid backing out. Back into the parking space or pull through so that your first movement leaving the parking spot is forward. Same at your home, back into your driveway and garage, this makes your exit easier.

    • David Sohmer says,

      I HATE backing out. I always try to back in. Although this might upset the driver behind me, he’ll have to wait one way or the other so might as well make him wait while I’m the one in charge. It’s for the greater good!

  5. R. Cox says,

    Arizona drivers are notorious for driving to close to the vehicle in front of them. We are from California and you must know how to drive there but our skill are really challenged her in Arizona. My wife drives the 101 every day and she sees an accident going and coming every day. Like the previous comment, common sense is what is missing in this state.

    • E. Heairld says,

      Police don’t go on “private property,” such as parking lots at stores, so it isn’t always possible to get a police report!

  6. Stephanie Shaver says,

    Thank you but I do not tail gate abut have been rear-ended I the way home home, no damage
    Thank goodness.

  7. Stella Moore says,

    Never procede after a red light turns green without first looking both ways.I was hit by someone running a red light who was on her phone.

    • Anastasia Fonger says,

      Very informative. Good tips and reminders for all drivers. A suggestion to your advertising department would be to have safety tips and reminders in some of your commercials , as you have so many commercials that bring attention out there. There are so many people driving who seem to forget or don’t implement driving safety laws. Turning signals especially when turning and or changing lanes is a big problem also.

Looking to save? Bundle your auto & property. Start Quote Get A Free Auto + Property Quote