Blog Sideswipe Accidents: Causes & Insurance Impact

Jun 19, 2024

How does a sideswipe car accident happen?

close up of a car sideswipe accident

Though they may not sound serious, side-swipe accidents can have very serious consequences due to the direction of the impact. Side-swipe collisions can result in minor or significant damage, especially at high speeds.

In this blog, we define a sideswipe accident, provide some practical examples, and discuss how sideswipes may increase your Ontario car insurance.

Three main takeaways about sideswipe accidents:

  • Side swiping can occur between vehicles travelling in the same direction, usually when merging or passing, or in the opposite direction due to swerving or distracted driving.
  • The at-fault party is usually the driver who violated the rules of the road or failed to follow proper driving practices.
  • Being at-fault for a side-swipe car collision can raise your auto insurance rates, similar to other common at-fault accidents.

What's on this page:

What is a sideswipe accident?
Sideswipe accident example scenarios
Common causes of sideswipe accidents
Who is at-fault in a sideswipe accident?
Will a sideswipe accident increase my insurance?

What is a sideswipe accident?

A sideswipe accident happens when two vehicles travelling in the same direction collide from the side. It occurs when one vehicle veers out of its lane and into the adjacent lane.. In rarer cases, it can involve near-miss head-on collisions between cars travelling in opposite directions due to veering out of their lanes.

The force comes from the side, making it hard for drivers to regain control. This can lead to spinning out, veering into another lane, hitting objects, other vehicles, or flipping over, often resulting in rollovers, fatal crashes, or head-on collisions.

Most sideswipe accidents occur on highways between cars travelling in the same direction at high speeds, resulting in severe damage to vehicles and bodily harm to drivers and passengers.

Sideswipe accident example scenarios

Here are a couple of sample scenarios to give a visual of sideswipe accidents.

Highway lane change

While driving on the highway, Jane attempted to change lanes to overtake a slower vehicle but accidentally side-swiped John's car. They both pulled over to assess the damage and exchange insurance information.

Merging on a city street

Mark and Lisa approach a lane merge in a busy city. Mark accelerates to get ahead of Lisa, but runs out of space to merge, causing a sideswipe. Both vehicles stop, partially blocking the lane, and the drivers discuss the situation.

Parking lot sideswipe

Sarah is backing out of a parking space in a busy grocery store lot when she accidentally backs into Michael's car, driving down the aisle, looking for a spot. Both drivers stop, assess the damage, and exchange details to file claims.

Common causes of sideswipe accidents

Some common causes of sideswipe car accidents include distracted driving, improper lane changes, and driving too closely to other vehicles. It's important to be aware of these factors to prevent such accidents in the future.

  • Improper lane changes and merging: When a driver attempts an unsafe lane change or merge, it is often one of the leading causes of a sideswipe. They fail to wait long enough to change lanes. Always use your signal and take the necessary precautions.
  • Driving under the influence: Driving impaired, whether it is under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to sideswipe accidents. The ability to be a safe driver is always at risk when you do not drive sober.
  • Road rage: When you are frustrated behind the wheel, you may take risks that put yourself and others in danger.
  • Not paying attention to your surroundings: When you drive distracted, you miss crucial cues from other drivers and driving conditions. Stay focused and limit distractions while you are on the road.
  • Speeding: Not only do you risk increasing insurance premiums when you speed, but you also increase the chances of accidents, such as sideswiping another vehicle.
  • Weather: Driving in the rain and snow requires extra precautions. Poor weather impacts visibility and road surfaces, increasing the risk of collisions.

Who is at-fault in a sideswipe accident?

In a sideswipe crash, the driver who failed to stay in their lane or violated traffic laws is usually considered at-fault. However, insurers will refer to the Ontario Fault Determination Rules to determine who caused the accident.

Determining fault in sideswipe accidents is a priority for insurance companies. Typically, the driver who failed to check their blind spot or did not signal their intention to change lanes is considered at-fault. However, there are cases where both drivers may share fault if they move towards the same lane simultaneously.

Will a sideswipe accident increase my insurance?

In a sideswipe accident, if you are found to be at-fault, it can increase your insurance premiums. This is the same for all types of collisions. Unless you have accident forgiveness, you will likely see an impact on how much you pay.

Insurance companies consider fault-based accidents as a risk factor, which can result in adjustments to your rates.

If you have collision coverage, your insurance will cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle after you pay the deductible. However, if the other driver is at-fault, their third-party liability insurance should cover your repair costs. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, your uninsured motorist coverage can help cover the damages.

Don't let cheaper rates pass you by

Get a free quote for your vehicle today to ensure you are covered in a sideswipe accident.

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Sideswipe accidents happen – be observant and insured to limit risks

Sideswipe accidents, often seen as minor, can have significant consequences for drivers and their insurance. Understanding their impact and taking preventive measures can reduce risks. Safe driving habits, vehicle maintenance, and awareness of surroundings can help avoid these accidents. Drive responsibly and always ensure your car insurance is up to date.