It’s hard to believe it started off as just another day. You were on your way to class, about to get off at Front Street, when another car suddenly brushed up against you. You were scared and shaken, but the other driver was apologetic and you were happy to be alive. You gave your statement to the police and took pictures of the damage. You just want to put the whole thing behind you.
But now that you’re having trouble sleeping, you can’t help but wonder: Was there only damage to your car in the accident, or have you been affected as well?
What Happens in a Sideswipe Accident?
A sideswipe crash happens when a car is struck along its side. Unlike a T-bone, head-on, or rear-end collision, a car is usually not struck with the full force of impact in a sideswipe crash. The striking vehicle may “slide” along the full length of the other car, or hit the other car at a glancing angle anywhere along its front or back sides.
There are many ways a sideswipe crash can occur, including:
- On the highway – Cars traveling at similar speeds in multiple lanes of I-435 may easily merge without signaling, swerve to avoid an object in the road, or drifts into another lane while distracted by a phone call.
- On city streets – Sideswipe crashes also occur when cars are traveling in opposite directions. A vehicle that crosses over the center line may attempt to avoid a head-on collision by swerving at the last second, striking the car on its side instead.
- At an intersection – Drivers attempting to run a red light, turn from the wrong lane of traffic, or merge lanes without checking their blind spots will often be at fault for an accident even when other cars strike each other in order to avoid him.
How Do Sideswipe Crashes Cause a TBI?
While a sideswipe accident may appear less dangerous than other collisions, drivers are at considerable risk of vehicles striking along their sides. The sides often provide less protection, especially if the vehicle is not equipped with side-impact air bags. Because of the open placement of windows and doors, car manufacturers cannot reinforce the sides of the vehicle as heavily as the front and back. Any impact to the sides of the vehicle is likely to cause the thin metal frame to collapse inward.
When a car is struck on its side, a person’s head will often be thrown in the direction of impact. If the car is struck on the right, the driver’s head may strike the window or doorframe and cause a skull fracture. However, if he is struck on the left, the impact may throw him toward the passenger—even if his head does not strike another object, the shaking of his head in his skull may still result in traumatic brain injury.
It is vital that you see a doctor immediately after any accident that could have caused injury and that you insist that your family members pay attention to their recommended treatment. If someone you know is struggling after a head injury, click the link on this page to read through our FREE e-book, Brain Injury Survivor's Guide.