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Most common types of car accidents revealed

Many deadly car accidents don't involve more than one car.

Updated

Fact checked

We compared the events leading up to fatal car accidents in every state, including those in which a car rolled over or drove through an intersection. But the most common types of car accidents may not be what you’d think.

What are the most common types of car accidents?

According to the Federal Highway Administration, roadway departures, or driving over an edge or center line, cause 52% of car accident fatalities in the US. Single-vehicle crashes are also notoriously deadly, and are the top cause of fatalities in many states, including California, Florida and New York.

About 20% of road deaths involved speeding or happened in intersections, so watch out when turning at a light or stop sign.

Most common types of fatal car accidents in every state

Some states have more deadly crashes overall. For example, while Wyoming is the least populated state, it has more road fatalities than Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island or Vermont.

StateTotal fatalities – all crashesSingle vehicleLarge truckSpeedingRolloverRoad departureIntersection
Alabama94856499257290605145
Alaska7951526204818
Arizona1,00056694299262371272
Arkansas4932758411615533152
California3,6022,0673611,0707961,588927
Colorado64833587230228330190
Connecticut27816123883814471
Delaware119621433134739
DC312401741310
Florida3,1121,6222922995381,1221,134
Georgia1,540823214248361769401
Hawaii10759950266030
Idaho244137464810916245
Illinois1097579149462235535340
Indiana914455138208173471261
Iowa330182677012420785
Kansas46124188104153263103
Kentucky78241389138203472179
Louisiana760440102177204421141
Maine1729123494011234
Maryland5503044816059262163
Massachusetts35023728986518693
Michigan103051988241224429268
Minnesota357179618989181126
Mississippi69037510259174399108
Missouri930512111346280543179
Montana18611622599013923
Nebraska22813038377812661
Nevada309172379569104105
New Hampshire102641358257014
New Jersey6243805412072266197
New Mexico3792057014111817694
New York999602121308127450373
North Carolina1412765164423360798268
North Dakota115692628575924
Ohio1179641164252254670327
Oklahoma655357133143210370126
Oregon437252541199228066
Pennsylvania1137620167468213642252
Rhode Island8357841114712
South Carolina98856990416234575173
South Dakota129692131589319
Tennessee1040585136166261665158
Texas3722191464910299421832724
Utah27314636787914258
Vermont69381031144914
Virginia83949398219186511189
Washington56534077172101306122
West Virginia30318952848521441
Wisconsin61331882180169325178
Wyoming123741737608315

Why do these states have higher fatal car accident numbers?

The states with the highest rate of road fatalities have several things in common. Because these states have more cities with large populations, these states also have more traffic, which increases the risks of car accidents. Some of these states also see a higher rate of visitors, which means more seasonal traffic piled on streets and highways that are already full of residents.

Another factor in driving deaths is drunk driving. The three states with the most road deaths – Texas, Florida and California – also have the highest rate of drunk driving deaths. And many of the states with high rates of road deaths also have a higher percent of drunk driving deaths relative to the state population, such as Ohio and Tennessee.

How to prevent the most common car accidents

No matter which state you live in, you can prevent road fatalities by being a smart driver:

  • Avoid distractions like cell phones and other digital devices.
  • Drive defensively and be prepared for other drivers to make unpredictable moves.
  • Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Stay in the right lane or stick to one lane. More accidents tend to happen when changing lanes.
  • Avoid driving during peak hours like rush hour to avoid commuter wrecks, or late at night to avoid drunk drivers.

Bottom line

Which state you live in can affect how you’re most likely to die in a car accident, but you can reduce the risk of that happening at all by driving defensively and paying attention to the roads. And you can reduce the cost of a nonfatal accident by picking up a comprehensive insurance policy.

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