What Should You Do in a Single-Vehicle Accident? I Compare.com (2023)

Why You Can Trust Compare.com What Should You Do in a Single-Vehicle Accident? I Compare.com (1)

At Compare.com, it’s our mission to find simple ways to help our customers save money on the things they need. While we partner with some of the companies and brands we talk about in our articles, all of our content is written and reviewed by our independent editorial team and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn about how we make money, review our editorial standards, and reference our data methodology to learn more about why you can trust Compare.com.

Written by Nick Versaw

Updated June 3rd, 2022

What Should You Do in a Single-Vehicle Accident? I Compare.com (3)

When you’re driving, what scares you the most? Maybe you’re scared of texting teenagers, drunk drivers, or sleep-deprived truckers sideswiping you.

(Video) CAR vs TRUCK Crash Test – Trailer Underride Testing

As it turns out, the driver you should fear most is you. While many drivers fear they’ll be hit by a red-light runner or adistracted driver, more than half of traffic deaths nationwide happen in single-car accidents.

Find out the major causes of single-vehicle accidents and what you can do if they happen to you.

Compare Rates for Single-Car Accident Coverages

What Are the Major Causes of Single-Vehicle Accidents?

Understanding the different types of accidents that can cause a single-car accident can make you more aware when you’re driving. This caution may help you avoid your own single-car crash. However, some incidents are unavoidable or out of your hands. Here are some of the most common causes of accidents involving a single motor vehicle.

Run-Off-Road Crashes

A run-off-road crash happens when a car leaves the travel lane, goes off the road entirely, and then hits something or overturns. This is the most common cause of a single-car accident, making up 64.4% of all the single-vehicle crashes in a two-year period analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

If you’re in a run-off-road crash, there’s a good chance it’s your fault. Around 95% of these crashes are caused by something the driver did or didn’t do — not poor weather conditions or vehicle defects.

Some of the most frequent causes of run-off-road crashes or losing control of the vehicle include:

  • Distracted driving (texting and driving, fiddling with the radio, looking at your phone, ignoring traffic laws, etc.)
  • Speeding
  • Falling asleep at the wheel or general drowsiness
  • Inexperience
  • Drunk driving

Rollover Crashes

According to the NHTSA, rollover crashes are particularly violent in nature, and almost all rollover-related fatalities result from single-vehicle crashes. Speeding and/or alcohol are often involved in these auto accidents, and nearly three-quarters of fatal rollovers occur in rural areas with a speed limit of 55 mph or more.

(Video) These Crashes Show the Difference 20 Years Has Made to Car Safety | WIRED

Automakers and government regulators know rollovers are a problem, especially with SUVs. That’s why rollover accidents forced manufacturers to redesign many cars in recent years. You may notice that newer vehicles have beefier pillars holding up the roof. Regulations now require roofs to withstand a force of three times the vehicle’s unloaded weight. For heavier SUVs and trucks, it’s 1.5 times the vehicle weight.

Hitting an Animal

What Should You Do in a Single-Vehicle Accident? I Compare.com (4)

Single-vehicle collisions with a deer or other animal are more common than you might think, especially if you live in states with more wildlife or rural areas. The odds of hitting an animal are the greatest in these states (according to State Farm):

  • West Virginia: 1 in 37
  • Montana: 1 in 39
  • South Dakota: 1 in 48
  • Michigan: 1 in 54
  • Pennsylvania: 1 in 54

While a white-tailed deer may look like a fragile woodland creature, it weighs about as much as a person. An adult male weighs 200 pounds, on average, and an adult female weighs around 150 pounds. Cars can sustain considerable damage in collisions with deer, often thousands of dollars worth.

To avoid single-vehicle accidents with deer, remain especially wary at dawn and dusk when they’re most active and in October, November, and December. If you see tell-tale eyes glowing in the woods along the road, slow down. Also, deer travel in herds, so where you see one deer, you should expect several more.

What Should You Do After a Single-Vehicle Accident?

What Should You Do in a Single-Vehicle Accident? I Compare.com (5)

When you’re involved in an accident with another driver, a mildly complicated but straightforward ritual ensues. You check your car, exchange names and contact information with the other motorist, make a report with law enforcement, and file a claim with your insurance company if necessary.

But what about a single-car crash?

When you’re the only one involved in a crash, you need to act quickly. First, assess your injuries. Can you move? Are you bleeding? If you’re not sure how badly you’re hurt, call 911 as soon as possible for assistance. Avoid moving as well, as this can aggravate certain injuries.

Next, assess your safety. Is your vehicle totally out of travel lanes and away from oncoming traffic? If possible, move your car to the side of the road. If it’s malfunctioning or otherwise inoperable, get yourself to a safe area so long as no other traffic is present. Don’t forget to turn on the hazard lights and use flares if you have them.

(Video) There's Something Strange About The Chinese Spy Balloon

Then, call the police — yes, even for a single-vehicle crash. It’s important to have an official record of what happened. Did you swerve to avoid another driver? Were there potholes or other problems with the road? Be your own witness: Take photos of the scene and write down the time of day, the speed you were going, and any hazardous road conditions or problems with your car you observed.

Filing a Single-Car Accident Insurance Claim

What Should You Do in a Single-Vehicle Accident? I Compare.com (6)

Will insurance cover a single-vehicle accident? That depends. If you collide with an object like a tree, a guardrail, or a deer, collision coverage or comprehensive coverage should pay for property damage or damage to your car. However, this depends on the wording in your policy. Your premiums may increase since it will likely be considered an at-fault accident.

No-fault states require that you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which may cover some of your medical bills after a single-car accident. If a passenger is hurt in a single-car accident, they can make a claim against the driver’s insurance policy. But they’ll only be covered up to the limit on the policy.

How to Avoid Single-Car Accidents

What Should You Do in a Single-Vehicle Accident? I Compare.com (7)

The good news about single-vehicle accidents is that they’re often avoidable. Defensive driving is always an intelligent way to get from Point A to Point B unscathed. However, you can also engage in other best practices to avoid a solo car crash:

  • Get a good night’s rest: Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep before driving.
  • Drive the right speed for conditions: In dark or poorly lit areas and construction zones or during inclement weather, ease off the accelerator.
  • Use hands-free texting and calling: Alternatively, you can lock your phone in the glove box if you’re too tempted to look at your phone.
  • Avoid drinking and driving: Even if you don’t feel intoxicated, arideshare or taxi service is always the better option.
  • Don’t overcompensate: If you have to swerve to avoid another motorist or an animal, don’t cut back too far. Overcorrection can cause you to lose control or roll over.

Car Insurance and Erring on the Side of Caution

While attentive driving is the greatest defense against single-car accidents, sometimes, they’re unavoidable. Fortunately, that’s just what auto insurance covers. With collision, comprehensive, or full coverage auto insurance, you can file a claim, recoup your losses, and learn a valuable lesson about driving.

Not sure if you have the coverage you need for a single-vehicle accident? Upgrading your insurance coverage or just finding a better deal can make a world of difference. With Compare.com, you can find cheap but excellent coverage that gels with your budget and insurance needs. It’s fast, easy, free, and can even help you find a policy that protects you from deer!

Type in your ZIP code below to get the best rate for your auto insurance needs:

Get the Best Rate for the Car Insurance You Need

(Video) Understanding Car Crashes: It's Basic Physics

What Should You Do in a Single-Vehicle Accident? I Compare.com (8)

Nick Versaw Managing Editor

Nick Versaw leads Compare.com's editorial department, where he and his team specialize in creating educational content about insurance and other related topics. As an award-winning writer, Nick has seen his work published in countless renowned publications, such as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and U.S. News & World Report. He graduated with Latin honors from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Digital Journalism.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes

About Compare.com

Compare.com’s #1 goal is to save you money. We publish resources that are based on hard-hitting data and years of industry experience to help you make more informed decisions with your wallet.

  • All of Compare.com’s content is written and reviewed for accuracy by a team of experienced writers and editors who are experts on the topics they cover.
  • None of Compare.com’s content is ever influenced by the companies and brands we partner with.
  • Compare.com’s editorial team operates independently of any of the company’s partnership or business development interests. We publish unbiased information strictly for the benefit of our readers.
  • All of the content you see on Compare.com is based on comprehensive analysis and all data is gathered and vetted from trustworthy sources.

Learn more about us, our team, and what makes us tick.

(Video) Watching Tuner Car Crash Tests


What is the first thing you should do in a car accident? ›

Stop Your Vehicle and Move to Safety

If the car accident was minor enough, the first thing you should do is move the vehicles out of the flow of traffic and off to the side or to the safest place nearby.

What are the 7 steps to dealing with a car accident? ›

7 Crucial Steps to Take After a California Car Crash
  1. Make sure everyone is okay. ...
  2. Call the police. ...
  3. Exchange information with other drivers. ...
  4. Get contact information from witnesses. ...
  5. Be careful with what you say. ...
  6. Take pictures. ...
  7. Contact a lawyer.

What are 3 things you must have when an accident happens? ›

According to the III, here's the most important information drivers should exchange after an accident: Full name and contact information. Insurance company and policy number. Driver's license and license plate number.

What do you do in a minor car accident? ›

What's happened and who's to blame is for the insurance companies or police to decide.
  1. Stop the car as soon as possible Be sure to put your hazard lights on if possible. Make sure you and your passengers are OK. ...
  2. Try to remain calm. It's normal to be shocked after an accident. ...
  3. Take note of the scene of the accident.

How long do I have to report an accident in CT? ›

As mentioned earlier, you have exactly 5 days to file an accident report with the police in Connecticut after a car accident. Any damage to property and injuries that exceed $1,000 needed to be reported right after the accident.

What are five things you must do at an accident scene? ›

5 things you should do when you are in a car accident
  • Contact law enforcement immediately. ...
  • Take photos. ...
  • Seek medical attention. ...
  • Never speak to the other parties' insurance company or give a recorded statement. ...
  • Call your car accident lawyer.
Sep 5, 2022

What are the 4 steps to follow after an accident? ›

A. STOP Immediately and move only if it is safe to do so.
  • Call 911 if there are injuries.
  • Call the police. ...
  • Obtain names, addresses, telephone numbers, and driver's license numbers from all drivers.
  • Obtain license plate(s) and vehicle identification numbers.

What to do after a car accident not your fault? ›

If the accident wasn't your fault, you can use a credit hire company instead of making a claim through your insurance company. A credit hire company pays for the cost of you hiring a replacement vehicle while yours is being fixed, and pays for the cost of repairs.

What should you not say to your insurance company after an accident? ›

While you must notify the insurance company of the accident, you should not explain the details of the accident, your injuries, or other potential damages at this time. Your lawyer can do that for you.

What happens if you don t tell your insurance about an accident? ›

What happens if I fail to report an accident to my insurers? Failure to report an accident can lead to your policy being declared void by your insurers which could result in you being uninsured in respect of vehicle damage in the event of a later accident.

What are some things you should never do at the scene of an accident? ›

After a car accident, avoid these common missteps to protect yourself and your legal rights.
  • Leave the scene.
  • Forget to call 911.
  • Lose your cool.
  • Forget to document the car accident.
  • Admit fault.
  • Neglect the aftermath.
  • Speak to the other party's insurance company without a lawyer.

Should I report a minor car accident? ›

You must report the collision to the police if you were unable to exchange details at the scene, if anyone was injured, or if you suspect that the other person may have committed a driving offence.

Should I hire a car accident lawyer for a minor accident? ›

Even in minor car accidents, you should have a personal injury attorney look at your case before agreeing to any settlement! They can help you get the most compensation possible for your case. That way you will not have to come out of pocket for your car and medical bills.

How long do you have to report an accident? ›

After being involved in a car accident, you should report it to your car insurance provider as soon as you can. Many insurers specify that you need to inform them about an accident within 24 hours of the incident.

Do you need a police report to file an insurance claim in CT? ›

Connecticut Law Requires a Police Report

If the accident caused damage exceeding $1000, you must file that report within five days of the accident. However, the officers at the accident scene will file the report immediately, so you won't have to do so separately.

How long does a car accident stay on your insurance record in CT? ›

Car insurance after an at-fault crash in Connecticut

A serious incident like an at-fault collision will stay on your insurance record for as long as three years!

Is CT a no fault accident state? ›

Connecticut is no longer a no-fault state for automobile insurance, but was before 1994. The term “no-fault automobile insurance” often refers to automobile insurance that permits a person to recover financial losses from his or her own insurance company regardless of who caused the loss.

What 3 things are your top priorities at an accident scene? ›

Do everything on this list to protect yourself from being taken advantaged of.
  • #1 – Stay Calm. ...
  • #2 – Stay Safe. ...
  • #3 – Leave the Vehicles Where They Are. ...
  • #4 – Never Admit Fault. ...
  • #5 – Only Talk to the Police. ...
  • #6 – Get Medical Help Immediately. ...
  • #7 – Always Call the Police. ...
  • #8 – What to do/say/get from the Police.
May 12, 2021

Which of the following should you not do at the scene of a collision? ›

Leave the accident site - The law mandates that anyone who has been involved in a car accident should stop the vehicle immediately. This is irrespective of whether the accident resulted in an injury, death, or property damage. In case you fail to do so and leave the accident scene, you can be heavily penalised.

What should you monitor after a car accident? ›

Even if you feel fine, an exam within days of your collision could reveal any of these five most common hidden injuries that happen during automobile accidents.
  • Neck injuries. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries during car accidents. ...
  • Brain injuries. ...
  • Back injuries. ...
  • Soft tissue injuries. ...
  • Internal damage.

Which of the following should be done after an accident? ›

Explanation If you are involved in an accident, you must stop your vehicle and move it from the roadway to the shoulder, provide aid to anyone who has been injured, protect the accident scene as much as possible, notify law enforcement as soon as possible, exchange information with other drivers involved, and submit ...

What should ask after an accident? ›

Here are some of the questions that you can ask to get more specific information about how the crash occurred:
  • What lane was each vehicle in?
  • Can you describe the stretch of the road?
  • Did either vehicle try to swerve or slam on their brakes?
  • How fast was each vehicle traveling?
  • How quickly did the accident occur?

Will my insurance go up after a non-fault claim? ›

Does declaring a non-fault claim affect my insurance premium? Yes. Your premiums could go up after you've declared a non-fault claim. This is because your insurance provider may decide that the reason for the claim is more likely to happen again, even though it wasn't your fault.

Will my insurance go up if I claim on someone else? ›

Regardless of whose fault it was, making a claim will almost always lead to an increase in your car insurance premium.

How much does car insurance go up after a claim? ›

Your premium increase will also depend on other factors such as whether you've made a claim on your insurance before, the cause and severity of the accident, and your overall driving history. However, you'll usually be looking at an increase of between 20%-50%.

Is CT a no fault state for car accidents? ›

Connecticut is no longer a no-fault state for automobile insurance, but was before 1994. The term “no-fault automobile insurance” often refers to automobile insurance that permits a person to recover financial losses from his or her own insurance company regardless of who caused the loss.

Do you have to call the police after an accident Connecticut? ›

Calling The Police After a Connecticut Car Accident: Is It Required? In Connecticut, state law requires those involved in an auto accident to file a Uniform Police Crash Report. This must be done within five days of the accident if the damage sustained exceeds $1,000.

Who pays for medical bills in a car accident in CT? ›

Connecticut has a fault-based car insurance system. That means the driver who caused your crash (the at-fault driver) is responsible for paying your medical bills.

Can you file an insurance claim without a police report in Connecticut? ›

Connecticut Law Requires a Police Report

If the accident caused damage exceeding $1000, you must file that report within five days of the accident. However, the officers at the accident scene will file the report immediately, so you won't have to do so separately.

Do I have to tell insurance About accident not my fault? ›

Your insurance company will need to know about the accident for their information, even if you don't claim through them. The credit hire company may offer to contact your insurance company for you, or ask you to let them know.

Which insurance does not pay regardless of fault? ›

Which of the following does not pay regardless of fault? Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury --The other party must be legally responsible for bodily injury to an insured that arises out of ownership, maintenance, or use of an uninsured motor vehicle in order for this coverage to apply.

What happens if the person at fault in an accident has no insurance? ›

If the at-fault party does not have car insurance, you can file a compensation claim with your insurance company or file a lawsuit against the negligent party. When you are in an accident, you may expect the other driver to have auto insurance, but this is not always the case.


1. Medieval German and Italian trade comparison and interaction (second half of the 14th century)
2. UNBELTED Passenger in Frontal Car Crash
3. Forces and Motion The Physics of Car Crashes (preview)
(Pumpkin Interactive)
4. What A High-Speed Car Crash Does To Your Body
(CNA Insider)
5. The Physics of Car Crashes
6. Old Cars vs New Cars Crash Test Compilation - Car Safety Evolution
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated: 10/30/2022

Views: 5881

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.