picture of a car hitting another car in a crash

Responsible drivers do everything they can to avoid collisions by driving safely and courteously. But accidents happen, and collisions are unfortunately not uncommon. In fact, there are an estimated 6 million car crashes in the United States annually. Metropolitan areas tend to be associated with higher rates of collisions, and the Portland metro area is no exception. The Portland police department completes about 3,000 accident reports each and every month.


While the hope is that you never have to deal with a collision, it’s important to know what to do if one does occur. Understanding the causes and risks of common types of accidents can help you be prepared in the event you’re involved in one. 


Common Types of Car Accidents

Learning about the accidents that can occur on the road is a good way to both avoid crashes and to know how to respond when one happens. Keep reading to learn about the 7 most common types of car crashes in Portland and what to do if they happen.

1. Rear-End Collisions

There are about 2.5 million rear-end collisions per-year in the United States, making up roughly 29% of all accidents on the road. This makes rear-end collisions the most common type of crash. They most often occur due to negligent or distracted driving. If the driver in the following vehicle is driving too close, failure to break in time is common. This is why it’s important to be sure that you leave enough space so that you have time to respond if the driver in front of you suddenly stops, and to leave extra space in wet or icy weather conditions.


While rear-end collisions are common, they can be extremely dangerous and involved parties run the risk of sustaining serious injury. So, it’s important to first check for injuries to both drivers, and to be cautious that some injuries may not be immediately apparent, such as with a concussion. Once you have assessed the health of those involved, exchanging information and contacting authorities should be the next course of action.


2. Hit & Runs

About 12% of all accidents are “hit and runs,” which is a type of crash in which one or more involved parties flee the scene without offering help or vital information to the other parties. Being the victim of a hit-and-run collision can be especially frustrating and traumatizing. In some cases, you may not even be there to witness what happened, such as in the event someone hits your car while it’s parked. Remember that if someone hits you and flees the scene, they have committed a crime — especially if you’re injured — and you should report the incident to the police.


3. Single-Vehicle Accidents

Accidents involving a single vehicle are surprisingly common — and deadly. An astonishing 53% of all motor-vehicle accident deaths in the United States occur in single-vehicle crashes. In Oregon, it’s even higher at 59%. These kinds of accidents are usually the result of driver error, which may include the following:


  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Poor decision making


Single-vehicle accidents can also be caused by factors outside the driver’s control, such as weather or road conditions. If you’re involved in a single-car accident, it’s important to treat it as you would any other collision. Get to safety, check yourself and any passengers for injury or trauma, and report the crash to the relevant authorities.


4. T-Bone Collisions

T-bone collisions occur when the front of one car crashes into the side of another vehicle. Most often these occur when one driver fails to yield to another’s right of way. These are most common at intersections and 4-way-stops or while turning left onto busy roads. T-bone accidents are extremely dangerous and can be caused by a number of factors including but not limited to:


  • Distracted driving 
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Excessive speeds
  • Failure to yield


Unfortunately, T-bone collisions make up a large percentage of motor accidents at about 24% of total crashes.


5. Sideswipes

Sideswipes occur when two cars collide while driving next to each other at similar speeds. Sideswipes most often occur on parallel roads when one driver moves into another lane without being fully aware of their surroundings. This type of crash can be extremely dangerous, especially because they often occur on highways at fast speeds.


It’s also common for these types of crashes to catch you by surprise, even compared to other types of accidents, since the drivers are often unaware of each other before they collide. It’s vital to be fully aware of your surroundings while driving, especially at high speeds and before changing lanes. Be sure to use your signal and mirrors and to check blindspots thoroughly before changing lanes. Should you be involved in a sideswipe, try to safely pull over on the side of the road, assess injuries, and notify law enforcement.


6. Rollovers

A “rollover” accident is one in which a vehicle tips over onto its roof or side. These kinds of crashes are more likely to cause serious bodily injury or be fatal than other common types of car accidents, although wearing a seatbelt in the event of a rollover accident substantially reduces the risk of death. They can involve a single vehicle or multiple, and are most often caused by one or more of the following:


  • Excessive speed
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Vehicle defects
  • Road or weather conditions
  • Tire issues

7. Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions are defined as accidents in which the front of one vehicle crashes into the front of another. This type is typically regarded as the most dangerous kind of accident. While head-on collisions account for less than 2% of vehicle accidents in the United States, they are the cause of over 10% of crash-related fatalities. Such crashes can also lead to serious injury, including organ damage, broken bones, and brain damage. These crashes are usually caused by recklessness or negligence on the part of one or both drivers.


It’s common to not feel the effects of an accident-related injury immediately due to the adrenaline and chaos of the crash, but that doesn’t mean you’re not injured. If you’re involved in a head-on collision, you should always report it and get attention for any pain or discomfort you experience.


What to Do Following an Accident

Knowing what to do immediately after an accident, and in the moments, days, and weeks following, can improve your individual medical, financial, and psychological/emotional outcomes. It can also help ensure you’re prepared to respond if other involved parties are in need of help.


Here’s what you should do:


  1. Stop, get to safety, and make sure you and any passengers are okay.
  2. Protect the scene of the accident.
  3. Alert the police.
  4. Take photographs and tell officers everything you remember.
  5. Exchange information with all involved parties and keep a file.
  6. Seek any necessary medical treatment.
  7. Notify your insurance company.
  8. Get an estimate for auto-collision repair.
  9. Know your rights and choose the right body shop.

Get Your Car Repaired After an Accident

Over the years, Mackin’s Auto Body has built a reputation as a local leader in auto-collision repairs, including the most common ones after getting in a car crash. We’ve been in business since 1945, serving our local community and doing our part to keep it safe.  


We’re certified, local, and family-owned, and you can trust us to do a thorough inspection of your vehicle following a collision to make sure we find any hidden damage. We’ll return your car to you in a timely fashion and provide the highest level of customer service.


Stop by one of our 9 locations and contact us to let us know how we can help you. If you’ve recently been in a collision, you may also be wondering how to claim insurance for auto collision and get the best deal. Read our article on insurance claims to learn more.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts is the Director of Operations at Mackin’s Auto Body, where he has been making an impact since 2018. With a career in collision repair that started in 1999, Chris brings a wealth of experience and dedication to his role. Before stepping into his current position, he served as the Assistant Operations Manager at Mackin’s Auto Body from 2013 to 2017. Chris holds a BA from Northwest Nazarene University. When he’s not ensuring everything runs smoothly at Mackin’s, you can find him skiing down snowy slopes, wake surfing on sunny days, or cheering on his daughter at her soccer games.