Why Do Sideswipe Collisions Take Place?

Sideswipe Collisions

When it comes to car accidents, a head-on collision or a rear-end collision is common. But there is another type of collision that isn’t talked about much: the sideswipe collision.

When talking about sideswipe collisions, people think of minor property damage like scrapes or dents, but such accidents can cause much more damage than that. Occupants sitting in a car are protected from the front and back but tend to be more vulnerable from the sides.

What is Sideswipe Collision?

A sideswipe collision occurs when two vehicles hit or scrape with each other from the side. This collision can happen between two vehicles running in the same direction or going in opposite directions. It can also happen between a parked car and a moving vehicle. This accident happens when vehicles are in adjacent travel lanes.

Such accidents are abundant in highways that have multiple travel lanes, narrow roads with a single lane in each direction, or one-way streets with parked vehicles. Sideswipe collisions rarely halt the momentum of a moving vehicle; the danger often lies in the after-effects of the incident. Drivers can get surprised by the accident, oversteer, and risk losing control of the car.

There are various causes why sideswipe collisions take place.

Distracted Driving

A large number of car accidents, including sideswipe collisions, can occur due to driver error.

Driver distraction is a major reason. If drivers are not present-minded and do not pay attention to the road for even a few seconds, it can lead to an accident. Common distractions include texting while driving, checking the navigation system, eating something, or grooming (such as brushing your hair or applying makeup while driving). Carrying conversations on the phone or with someone sitting in the car is also a distracting activity.

Such distractions can cause a driver to become absent-minded; they might not check a blind spot while changing lanes or might need to repeatedly switch lanes, increasing the chances of a sideswipe collision.

Influence of Drugs and Alcohol

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can dull a person’s senses. It slows driver response time and can impair judgment. You can misjudge the distance between vehicles or wander out of your designated lane. You can fail to check blind spots when changing or merging lanes. These reasons can easily cause a sideswipe collision.


When speeding, one can easily lose control of their vehicle. They can drift off course and fail to avoid a collision. Other aggressive driving behaviors such as illegal passing, cutting other vehicles, or running other drivers off the road can also lead to sideswipe collisions.

How Can You Avoid Sideswipe Collisions?

  1. To avoid sideswipe collisions while driving, try and avoid distractions. Do not talk on the phone with fellow passengers (more than necessary) and text while driving. If you need to adjust the GPS, pull over on the side of the road and do so. While on busy roads, focus your attention on driving rather than other distractions such as billboards or other signs.
  2. Be aware and alert of your actions and your fellow drivers’ actions. Sometimes avoiding a collision comes down to reaction time. Check the rearview mirror multiple times before merging lanes. When traveling at high speeds, time your merges carefully to reduce the risk of a sideswipe collision. If you notice a driver struggling to keep in his lane or swerving lanes, often give him a wide berth. In addition to other cars, also keep an eye out for motorcycles and bicycles.
  3. When on the road, try and keep a distance from large vehicles like big trucks. Big trucks sometimes cannot see smaller passenger vehicles, perhaps due to a blind spot. If you see a truck driver signaling to change lanes, slow down or at times even stop so the truck can easily pass through an intersection.
  4. To avoid traffic, at times, drivers attempt to drive on the shoulder of the road. Avoid doing this, as sometimes driving on the shoulder and then trying to mingle back in the traffic can cause a sideswipe accident.

Steps to Take After a Sideswipe Collison

  1. Do not leave the scene of the accident unless you absolutely have to due to medical reasons. Remain at the site until the police arrive, or you may risk getting charged with a hit and run case.
  2. Move your vehicle from the middle of a busy road, especially if you are driving on the highway. Snap a few pictures of the accident just in case. Remember, you do not have to move the vehicle if you or any other occupant of your vehicle has suffered a serious injury. Do make it a point to examine everyone sitting inside the vehicle after a sideswipe collision. Medical attention should be a priority.
  3. Sideswipe collisions often take place in dangerous locations such as intersections or highways. Do make sure to follow all instructions given by first responders such as ambulance drivers, policemen, or firemen.
  4. Contact your insurance company without delay. Also, provide a copy of the police report if required. Your insurance company will need to know about the accident straight away, especially if the car is totaled and needs to be replaced.

Contact your attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys help victims of all kinds of car accidents receive the compensation they deserve. With an attorney, you have a better chance of receiving compensation for all injuries and losses you have suffered.

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