Single-vehicle accident

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Single-vehicle collision in the autumn of 2010

A single vehicle collision or single-vehicle accident is, as the name implies, a type of road traffic collision in which only one vehicle is involved.[1] Included in this category are run-off-road collisions, collisions with fallen rocks or debris in the road, rollover crashes within the roadway, and collisions with animals.

The term single-vehicle collision is not generally used unless the rider/driver and passengers of the vehicle are the only ones injured. Although in some cases innocent bystanders (e.g. pedestrians or bicyclists) can also be hurt or killed, the term single-vehicle collision is unlikely to be used to describe such collisions.

The normal inference is that the cause is operator error. Common factors contributing to single-vehicle collisions include excessive speed, driver fatigue[2] and alcohol.[3] Environmental and roadway factors can also contribute to single vehicle crashes. These include inclement weather, poor drainage, narrow lanes and shoulders, insufficient curve banking and sharp curves.[4] Some vehicles have unpredictable car handling characteristics and/or defects, which can increase the potential for a single-vehicle collision.

Suicide is also sometimes cited as a possible cause of single-vehicle accidents, although this is difficult to determine.[5][6]

Paul Walker died in a single-vehicle accident


  1. ^ "Safe car guide". Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  2. ^ "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses". Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  3. ^ Cohen, Sidney (1985). The substance abuse problems 2. New York and Binghamton: Haworth Press. p. 112. ISBN 0-86656-368-7. Retrieved 14 Apr 2009. 
  4. ^ Neuman, Timothy (2003). NCHRP Report 500, Volume 6: A Guide for Addressing Run-Off-Road Collisions. Washington, D.C.: Transportation Research Board. ISBN 0-309-08760-0. 
  5. ^ Noel Baker (November 21, 2013). "10% of single vehicle crashes are 'suicide bids'". Irish Examiner. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ Peck, Dennis L.; Warner, Kenneth (Summer 1995). "Accident or Suicide? Single-Vehicle Car Accidents and the Intent Hypothesis". Adolescence (Libra Publishers) 30 (118): 463–72. ISSN 0001-8449. Retrieved March 27, 2013.