Side impact collisions, which are also called T-bone accidents, account for almost a quarter of the traffic accident fatalities in Michigan and around the country. These accidents are particularly dangerous because the striking vehicle is usually traveling at high speed through an intersection and takes no evasive action. T-bone accidents often involve drivers who either failed to notice that a traffic signal was red or accelerated to make it through an intersection before a yellow light turned red.
Crumple zones and safety cages
When Australian researchers studied car accident data, they discovered that more road users die in T-bone accidents than front-end and rear-end collisions combined. This is largely due to the way automobiles are designed. The fronts and backs of cars have large crumple zones that deform in an accident and absorb much of the impact. The sides of automobiles are only protected by a thin sheet of steel and a reinforcing bar that runs through the door.
T-bone accident injuries
Passenger vehicle occupants that survive T-bone accidents often suffer debilitating head, neck and chest injuries. This is especially true if the vehicle they are traveling in is not equipped with side-curtain airbags. Whiplash injuries are also common. Most people associate whiplash injuries with rear-end collisions that cause the head to move violently forward and then backward, but they can also be suffered in T-bone accidents that cause the head to move quickly from side to side. T-bone accidents are usually caused by reckless or negligent behavior, which is why the road users injured in them often file personal injury lawsuits.
Avoiding side impact collisions
T-bone accidents are frequently the fault of distracted, impatient, inattentive or impaired drivers. Remaining vigilant at all times, maintaining safe distances and driving defensively are the best ways to avoid these motorists. It is also advisable to approach intersections cautiously and pay close attention to approaching vehicles even if the light is green and the road appears clear.