Car crashes range dramatically in scope and scale. There are collisions that occur involving only one car, possibly when someone takes a curve too fast and goes off the road. There are also wrecks that involve dozens of vehicles at once, like when a commercial truck jackknives during rush hour traffic on a freeway.
Most collisions that people can picture fall between those two extremes, many of them involving two vehicles. However, the stereotypical two-vehicle crash is actually not the most dangerous form of collision according to federal crash data.
Although other drivers are certainly a risk to you on the road, you might be your own biggest source of collision risk. How many fatal crashes only involve one vehicle?
More than half of the deadly crashes likely involve only one vehicle
Every year, the federal government gathers data on crashes and analyzes the details to try to find trends. Understanding the causes and contributing factors for fatal crashes can help federal and state lawmakers institute policies that protect the public.
Much of the legislation passed on vehicles focuses on preventing cars from colliding, but the fact of the matter is that many deadly collisions only ever involve one vehicle. According to an analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 53% of all deadly crashes in 2019 only involved one vehicle. Here in Missouri, roughly 56% of all fatal crashes involved only one vehicle.
It is worth noting that at least a few of those crashes could have been caused by another nearby vehicle that forced a driver to slam on their brakes or swerve, possibly going off the road or striking a piece of infrastructure in the process.
How can drivers protect themselves from single-vehicle collisions?
Keeping an eye on your surroundings can reduce the risk you have caused by other drivers, but how do you eliminate the risk you cause yourself? There are always steps that you can take to help keep yourself safe in the vehicle.
Properly wearing safety restraints is crucial. The same is true of not driving after consuming alcohol or other mind-altering substances. Finally, avoiding distraction is crucial to your safety. Don’t just turn the ringer off on your cellphone. Have a rule about no intense conversations in the car, and don’t try to do anything other than driving when you are at the wheel. That means no eating, no grooming yourself and no reaching into the backseat to rifle through your briefcase.
Only by keeping yourself as safe as possible can you potentially reduce your risk of causing a crash that doesn’t hurt anyone except for yourself.