Which is the #1 Cause of Death in Idaho Single Vehicle Crashes? The Surprising Answer May Shock You

What are single vehicle crashes?

Single vehicle crashes are accidents that involve only one vehicle and no other road users. They can occur when a driver loses control of their vehicle and crashes into a fixed object, such as a tree, a guardrail, or a wall, or when they run off the road and overturn. Single vehicle crashes can also happen when a driver swerves to avoid an animal, a pothole, or a debris on the road

How common are single vehicle crashes in Idaho?

According to the Idaho Transportation Department, single vehicle crashes accounted for 57 percent of all fatal crashes and 41 percent of all injury crashes in Idaho in 2020. There were 139 deaths and 3,647 injuries resulting from single vehicle crashes in 2020, which represented an increase of 9 percent and 2 percent, respectively, from 2019. Single vehicle crashes were more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas, and they occurred more frequently at night, on weekends, and during winter months

What are the main factors contributing to single vehicle crashes in Idaho?

The most frequent type of fatal crash in Idaho is when a single vehicle leaves the roadway and crashes. Drivers involved in these crashes are often speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and/or driving impaired. According to the Idaho Office of Highway Safety, these three factors were present in 75 percent of the fatal single vehicle crashes in 2020

Speeding reduces the driver’s ability to react to unexpected situations, increases the stopping distance, and magnifies the impact force in case of a crash. Not wearing a seatbelt increases the risk of being ejected from the vehicle or hitting the interior parts of the vehicle, which can result in severe or fatal injuries. Driving impaired by alcohol, drugs, or fatigue impairs the driver’s judgment, coordination, vision, and reaction time, making them more likely to lose control of their vehicle or make poor decisions

Which is the #1 cause of death in Idaho single vehicle crashes?

Based on the data from the Idaho Transportation Department, the #1 cause of death in Idaho single vehicle crashes is overturn. Overturn accounted for 40 percent of the fatal single vehicle crashes in 2020, followed by collision with a tree (19 percent), collision with a guardrail (10 percent), and collision with a wall (8 percent). Overturn was also the leading most harmful event for fatal single vehicle crashes, meaning that it was the event that caused the most severe injury or death to the occupants of the vehicle

Overturn can occur when a vehicle leaves the roadway and rolls over, or when a vehicle flips over due to a sharp turn, a sudden swerve, or a collision with another object. Overturn can cause serious injuries or death to the occupants of the vehicle, especially if they are not wearing seatbelts or if they are ejected from the vehicle. Overturn can also cause damage to the vehicle and the environment, such as fuel leakage, fire, or pollution

How can single vehicle crashes and overturn be prevented in Idaho?

The best way to prevent single vehicle crashes and overturn in Idaho is to drive safely and responsibly. Drivers should follow the speed limits, wear seatbelts, avoid distractions, and never drive impaired. Drivers should also maintain their vehicles in good condition, check the weather and road conditions before traveling, and adjust their driving accordingly. Drivers should also be alert and aware of their surroundings, and avoid sudden or aggressive maneuvers that could cause them to lose control of their vehicle

If a driver encounters a situation that requires them to leave the roadway, such as an animal crossing, a pothole, or a debris, they should try to slow down gradually and steer smoothly back onto the road. They should avoid overcorrecting, braking hard, or jerking the steering wheel, as these actions could cause the vehicle to skid, fishtail, or overturn. If a driver is involved in a single vehicle crash, they should call 911, check for injuries, and move to a safe location if possible


Single vehicle crashes are the most common and deadly type of crashes in Idaho, and overturn is the #1 cause of death in these crashes. Drivers can reduce the risk of single vehicle crashes and overturn by driving safely and responsibly, and by following the tips and recommendations provided in this article. By doing so, they can protect themselves, their passengers, and other road users, and make Idaho roads safer for everyone.