While most people equate a car or truck crash with two or more vehicles colliding, single-vehicle accidents can have severe consequences. Whether these vehicles leave the roadway and enter the shoulder, median or parking lane, a collision or rollover is likely to occur. Depending on the speed of the vehicle and the object of the collision, a crash can result in fatalities.
Countless factors can lead to single-vehicle accidents across the state. Whether they occur on fast-moving highways or busy city streets, vehicle occupants can suffer catastrophic injuries or fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published data that specifically looked at factors that ultimately led to fatal vehicle crashes. In general, those factors could be separated into three categories:
- Driver factors: When a driver’s attention or ability to safely pilot the vehicle are diminished, serious collisions can occur. In general, driver factors can include speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving and impaired driving. In these situations, impairment can mean drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medication.
- Environmental factors: Single-vehicle accidents can result from dangerous environmental factors. While fog, rain and high winds are likely at different times of the year snow flurries or iced-over roads are not completely unheard of in Alabama. These adverse weather conditions can cause dramatic reductions in visibility as well as challenges in controlling the vehicle.
- Road design factors: In the NHTSA study, researchers highlighted numerous road design features as accident factors. These can include poor lighting, significant curves and confusing intersections. Additionally, they noted that single-vehicle accidents tended to occur on rural roads and roads with fewer lanes in general.
Single-vehicle accidents can have devastating consequences. Whether they are vehicles that collide with stationary objects such as guardrails, trees, or buildings, or they are vehicle rollover accidents, this type of crash can lead to catastrophic injuries. Severe collisions can result in vehicle occupant death.