How Likely is it to Get in a Car Accident?

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Written By Rocky Horton

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An almost 4% chance is how likely it is to get in a car accident in the United States each year. We got this number by taking data from Statista, which showed that there were nearly 9.04 million car crashes in the United States in 2020, and dividing that by the number of registered drivers in the United States that year, which was just over 228 million.

This number is a generalization and does not express how likely it is to get in a car accident based on vehicle type or the number of miles you clock on the road per year. The United States leads the developed world in car crashes and crash-related fatalities, making it more important than ever for you to know how to respond to one.

If you’re wondering how likely it is to get in a car accident, you should also be wondering what to do if you experience one and how a car accident attorney can help. Continue reading for our guide on car accident statistics, including your post-accident plan.

Car Accident Statistics

Passenger cars account for around 52% of car accidents. In other words, around 4.7 million passenger cars crash every year. This accounts for an estimated 20,175 deaths every half-year, according to estimates collected by the NHTSA for 2022.

Your behavior in the car influences your likelihood of crashing, as well as the chance that you will be injured or killed in the crash. Make sure all passengers are securely buckled and that the driver is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This will reduce the chances of crashing as well as reduce the severity of the crash if one occurs.

Trucking Accident Statistics

There are approximately 388,000 trucking accidents in the United States every year. Truckers are susceptible to accidents both because of the vehicles they drive and the lifestyle that it requires. Often, truckers keep long hours, which can cause fatigue.

The larger the truck, the more prevalent the blind spots as well, which can limit the visibility of the truck driver as well as cause uncertainty for other drivers on the road, which can lead to accidents.

Companies and independent drivers often let their commercial trucks go into disrepair rather than take them off the road for maintenance. This can result in poor maintenance on brakes, mirrors, tires, suspensions, and more, increasing the chances of one of their drivers being in an accident.

In the case of corporate negligence, car accident injury cases can change since the defendant is a corporate entity rather than a driver. If you were in an accident with a commercial vehicle, ask your attorney how this might affect your case.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Though every accident is different, these are the most common causes of car accidents in the United States:

  • Drunk driving accounted for 30% of all road fatalities in 2020, according to the NHTSA. Sensory impairment makes it difficult to make sound judgments, react to danger, and obey the rules of the road, increasing the chances of an accident.
  • Speeding also factored into 29% of road fatalities in 2020.The police officer on the scene may come to a determination of speeding using witness accounts and driver testimony.
  • Running a red light or stop sign is another major cause of car accidents. In fact, around 40% of accidents happen at intersections. Rather than wait through another cycle, many drivers try to speed through a yellow light, which can lead to T-bone crashes, backend crashes, and more.
  • Aggressive driving is a common cause of car accidents since it can lead drivers to ignore the rules of the road and the safety of others. Other drivers can become confused by their behavior, which inhibits their ability to make safe decisions. Witness testimonies are often important in establishing whether a driver was driving aggressively.
  • Distracted driving such as from cellphone use or other distractions can be as dangerous on the road as driving drunk since it takes your eyes and your attention away from the road.
  • Fatigue is another common cause of car accidents, especially among truck drivers. Since truckers drive long shifts, they are susceptible to the dangerous effects of fatigue, including impaired judgment.
  • Poor vehicle maintenance can cause car accidents, especially in corporate vehicles, by inhibiting drivers from reacting properly to danger, failing to brake, failing to see the cars around them, and more. All drivers have a responsibility to make sure their lights, tires, brakes, mirrors, and seatbelts are in working order before driving. If the vehicle is company-owned, this responsibility falls to the corporation to keep its drivers safe.

Common Injuries from Car Accidents

Car accidents can cause many serious, life-changing injuries, including brain and spinal trauma. As a result, many car accident cases involve not only current medical expenses but also future medical care, sometimes for the remainder of the victim’s life.

Here are the most common injuries from car accidents:

  • Back injuries from sustaining the impact of a car crash can be immediate or delayed. Chronic pain or even disability can result from car accidents of any severity, so it’s important not to ignore any new or worsening back pain following an accident.
  • Neck injuries such as whiplash can also have a delayed onset and should be medically evaluated as soon as possible. Even slow accidents can cause whiplash.
  • Brain damage or TBI (traumatic brain injury) can result from a blow to the head during an accident. This type of injury disables nearly 100,000 people per year.
  • Spinal injuries can result from a twisting motion during impact, damaging vital nerves and leading to partial or even total paralysis.
  • Other internal injuries can result from the force of an accident or the impact of debris, damaging internal organs or causing perforations, bleeding, bruising, and more.
  • Burns can be caused by fires that erupt during an accident or from any of the hot fluids, chemicals, or steam that could leak from the car. Some car accident burns are serious enough to require corrective surgery.
  • Broken bones or fractures are common, especially on the arms, wrists, legs, and ribs.
  • Limb loss can result from a serious car accident, resulting in a loss of work and a lower quality of life.
  • PTSD can be a latent result of a car accident, affecting a victim’s mental state in the long term.

In addition to these specific injuries, any number of more general soft tissue injuries, lacerations, crush injuries, sprains, and breaks are possible following a serious car accident.

Cars Most Likely to Get in an Accident?

The first rule of gauging your chances of being in an accident is that faster cars are more likely to crash. In 2020-2021, hot rods and sports cars led the pack in terms of accidents. Most of these cars were imported, meaning a car from Italy has a higher chance of being in a crash than an American-made brand like Ford or Jeep.

Having said that, taller vehicles like Jeeps and other off-road vehicles are more susceptible to another kind of accident called a rollover. Due to their height and the driving conditions they tackle, these cars are at a greater risk of tipping over or even rolling down inclines, causing a greater chance of injury.

Finally, older cars are at a greater risk for accident-related fatalities, possibly due to fewer safety features or faulty parts that fail to protect their occupants as efficiently as newer vehicles.

Who is Most Likely to Get in a Car Accident?

Even your age can affect how likely it is to get in a car accident, with teens ages 16-19 consistently having three times more accidents than any other age group, according to the CDC. This is likely due to having less experience than adult drivers.

However, driving more automatically leads you to becoming more susceptible to having an accident. Those with long daily commutes are therefore at a higher risk of crashing than those who only drive occasionally.

In addition, men are more likely to be in a car accident than women in the same age group. Accidents involving men are also more likely to be deadly.

What To Do If You’re in a Car Accident?

If you’re in a car accident, follow this list of tips and instructions:

  1. Make sure everyone is okay – Your first duty is to the health of yourself and your passengers.
  2. Call 911 – Alert police of the accident and request medical assistance if injuries are present.
  3. Stay at the scene – You should remain at the scene to exchange information, receive medical attention, and talk to the police.
  4. Gather evidence – Ask the other driver for their identifying, insurance, and car information, and give them yours. Collect the contact information of witnesses. Take pictures or videos of the scene, including the other car’s license plate, damage to the cars, road, or property, and anything else that could be relevant.
  5. Speak plainly to police – Avoid excessive details but give an accurate account of the accident, sticking to the facts. Ask for the officer’s name and the report number.
  6. Contact insurance company – Alert your insurer of the accident as soon as possible.
  7. Avoid incriminating yourself – Do not apologize or admit fault to anyone. Do not speak to the insurance adjuster except in plain facts. Anything else could be used against your case later.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident?

You should always get an experienced lawyer for a car accident case. Remember that the insurance company is not your friend. The adjuster’s job is to get you to admit fault or catch you in a lie to reduce or deny your compensation.

An attorney experienced in car accident cases can help you maximize your settlement by organizing the evidence, advising you on what you should and shouldn’t say, talking to the appropriate professionals, and negotiating with the insurance companies or courts. Research shows that unrepresented or self-represented plaintiffs received far less in injury compensation than those represented by experienced lawyers.


How likely it is to get in a car accident depends on a few factors, including your age, gender, the car you drive, and the number of miles you regularly put on your car. Regardless of its likelihood, accidents do happen, often causing life-changing injuries and expensive damage. If this happens to you, contact a lawyer experienced in car accident cases to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Rocky Horton

Rocky Horton


Rocky Horton is a health and safety expert from Chapel Hill, NC. He is the founder of AccidentAdvisor and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and other publications. Learn more.