| Read Time: 7 minutes | Car Accident

Where do accidents occur most in Arizona?In the last 50 years, some of Arizona’s cities’ population has grown exponentially.

Phoenix went from just under a million people to almost five million. Tucson has doubled in size since the end of the last century. With every newcomer to Arizona comes the need for infrastructure such as housing, schools, businesses, service industries, and of course, roads to keep people connected.

With millions of people sharing a limited number of routes daily, many of them make mistakes. Car accidents are all too common, and good driving can prevent nearly all of them. However, the information gathered during a car accident is essential in letting people know where accidents happen the most frequently, and you might be surprised at some of the results.

Consulting a Phoenix car accident attorney might be the first step in the right direction if a car accident injured you.

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Types of accidents

The information gathered about car accidents considers many factors, including car vs. pedestrian accidents, bicycle collisions, and other impacts. The common denominator is the involvement of at least one motor vehicle. Here are some ways cars can be involved in at-fault accidents in Arizona.

Single vehicle accident

  • Over-correction: Common in rural areas, sometimes a driver can lose control of their vehicle and simply drive off the road or collide with an object. No other drivers or vehicles are involved.
  • Collision with a fixed object: In rural and urban areas, these accidents are the second most common.
  • Weather-related accidents: Common to collisions due to flash flooding, rain or snow, or other problems affecting the ability to navigate the road safely
  • Animal strikes: Most commonly found in rural areas, vehicles may hit large game such as deer, elk, or livestock gathered on roadways.

Multiple vehicle collisions

  • Left turn: A common accident in urban areas, especially at intersections.
  • Rear-end: The most common type of collision, rear-end accidents count for the highest percentage of impacts in Arizona (31,868 in 2020 alone).
  • Head-on collisions: One of the most deadly types of car accidents.
  • Sideswipes: The second most common accident, where the sides of both vehicles collide. One of the vehicles may be stationary.
  • Others: From angle to car vs. pedestrian or bicycle, whenever a vehicle makes contact and causes damage, these events are documented.

Various causes of accidents

These things increase the chances of an accident:

  • Speeding: At higher speeds, your reaction times significantly reduce, and the forces acting on your vehicle grow. The injury rate increases with higher speeds, including fatalities, even if you are involved in a one-vehicle accident.
  • The number of vehicles: Multiple vehicle accidents account for 82.01 percent of all crashes (according to 2020 data from AZDOT). More vehicles at any given time increase the probability of car accidents.
  • Driving distracted: In recent years, due to personal electronic devices such as mobile phones, onboard vehicle computers, and other media systems, drivers are more and more distracted than ever. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, texting and driving are several times more likely to involve a collision than drunk or intoxicated driving, especially among younger drivers.
  • Intoxicated driving: Drunk driving reduces a person’s ability to react or make good decisions when operating a motor vehicle. Loss of consciousness behind the wheel is standard in drunk driving. Other substances such as methamphetamine can contribute to hallucinations, erratic thinking, and even mental collapse, which turn a vehicle into a weapon on the roads.
  • Defective vehicles: As a car owner, you are responsible to yourself, your passengers, and other drivers to keep your vehicle in proper working condition. Not all drivers see it this way, leaving you vulnerable to other cars’ blowouts, non-functional turn signals, defective brakes, obscured windshields, and other problems that result in crashing into you.

Other contributing factors to crashes

Time is a factor

Time of day is also a factor to consider when car accidents occur. You might have heard that more vehicle accidents happen at different times of the day due to sun glare at sunrise or sunset, or even night driving being more dangerous and affecting the statistics. The data shows some surprising information about these concepts. A large percentage of accidents happen between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., with a large portion happening on a Friday. This would support the idea that higher concentrations of drivers and vehicles on the roads during rush hour are a much more significant factor in why car accidents happen.

Weather conditions

According to the AZDOT 2020 statistics, the weather seems to play a part in some car accidents; however, most accidents in Arizona have occurred on clear days, at 88,940. Most of those have occurred in daylight, with “lighted darkness” coming in second at 20,224 crashes. Areas with lighted darkness would typically be regarded as illuminated sections of road or highway, as you would find in the city. Dry roads accounted for 179,680 crashes, with only 6,009 on wet roads, so rain or snow is less of a contributing factor though it does exist. Breaking down the data collected about the weather even further, cloudy days account for 6,018 crashes, and rain was third at 2,509

Types of roads

Arizona features various roads, from winding mountain roads to long expanses of desert to urban highways and streets. Despite the differences in terrain, with an assortment of climates and weather conditions possible in each of these areas, most car crashes occurred on straight roads. One hundred seventy-six thousand three hundred sixty-four car crashes in 2020 happened on straight roads. Dirt roads only seem to be a small contributing factor to accidents, with dirt, gravel, and sand roads coming in third after just dry roads and wet roads taking the first and second place spots in surface conditions during accidents. Even standing water was towards the bottom of the list, according to AZDOT.

Where do accidents happen most?

With larger populations come more car accidents, regardless of speeds involved, weather conditions, or other factors such as driver impairment and speeding. The Phoenix and Tucson areas lead the state with the sheer number of car accidents. Statistics seem to indicate that a larger concentration of cars means more accidents. Accidents are happening more often in urban areas.

Urban versus Rural areas

Over the years, the population of Arizona has shifted from a widely rural dispersion to one concentrated in urban areas such as Phoenix and Tucson. The number of accidents in these areas is greater than in rural areas.

Yet, due to the speeds involved, accidents in urban areas result in fewer fatalities than in rural areas. In 2020, urban crashes had a 12.78 percent fatality rate, whereas rural accidents were at 19.9 percent The number of rural collisions with motor vehicles in transport in 2020 was 6,173, with 153 killed. In the Phoenix area alone, there were 71,611 crashes; in the Tucson area, collisions were at 8,841, and in the surrounding area 3,448. The rest of the states were much lower, though fatalities were higher per capita in rural areas. Flagstaff was among the larger areas of car accidents but these larger cities greatly overshadowed it.

Rural driving on highways, interstates, and other long stretches of roads generally involve higher speeds, which account for greater force overcome safety features such as airbags and crumple zones. However, the percentage of fatalities is per incident, not to say that rural driving is more dangerous and results in more fatalities. According to the data collected, rural crashes remained reasonably consistent throughout the week, and urban crashes mostly happened during weekdays, with the highest percentage on a Friday and a sharp decrease following on the weekends. Throughout the year, rural crashes and fatalities were consistent monthly.

In urban areas, however, crashes in Arizona throughout 2020 started strong in January, dropped in April, and then gradually increased throughout the year. The state’s pandemic lockdowns beginning in March and April might have skewed this information, which would have reduced the number of drivers on city roads and highways.

Phoenix and other urban areas

Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona and has the most significant number of car accidents in the state. It is the area that has been affected the most by growth, with a sprawling metropolitan area encompassing a large jurisdiction, connected by interstates, highways, and an increasing number of subdivisions and formerly rural areas that the metro infrastructure absorbed. The Pima County and Pinal County areas are next, which have also been affected by an influx of new residents over the last few decades. However, Pinal County has experienced a decrease in fatalities, whereas Pima and Maricopa Counties have seen an increase.

The Phoenix area looks to be the hot spot when it comes to where the most accidents occur. Regardless of the weather, types of surface, or terrain, most accidents seem to rely on traffic congestion, which these days is considerable in a city of nearly five million people and counting. Tucson comes in second place, with a few other growing communities in Arizona edging up to urban levels as their population grows.

Though accidents seem to result in more fatalities in rural areas, the frequency isn’t nearly as common as in the cities. Road conditions, remoteness of areas, and especially the speeds people travel outside of urban areas account for this. Regardless, Phoenix and other urban areas are where most accidents occur. Putting so many people into an area seems to be the biggest contributing factor to accidents since so many occur on clear days on straight, dry roads. The common denominator is larger numbers of people in multiple-vehicle accidents.

Contacting a car accident attorney

You’ve seen the statistics and some information supporting why accidents happen and the areas where they are the most common. Whether it is an isolated rural area or an urban setting with bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, car accidents in Arizona happen all the time. While fighting insurance companies that are looking out for their bottom line, you might be looking at a challenging time after an accident if a car accident injured you.

Hiring a car accident attorney is in your best interest to relieve a lot of the stress and confusion following an accident. Hospital stays due to injuries are painful and arduous, with recovery times varying due to the severity of injuries resulting from car accidents.

Since multiple car accidents, especially rear-end collisions, have the potential for some severe injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injuries and whiplash, you might be looking at some costly medical bills and lengthy rehabilitation times. Loss of time at work due to recovery or simply being without a vehicle due to a total loss is also possible. Contact an Arizona attorney who will fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve in a car accident.

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Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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