T-Bone Collisions at Intersections in Tennessee: The Devastating Impact of Side-Impact Crashes

Intersections are one of the most dangerous places on Tennessee roads. When two vehicles collide at right angles in an intersection, it results in what is known as a T-bone or broadside collision. This type of side-impact crash can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. In this article, we will examine the causes and consequences of T-bone crashes at intersections in Tennessee, and what can be done to prevent these tragic accidents.

Common Causes of T-Bone Collisions at Tennessee Intersections

There are several common factors that contribute to deadly T-bone crashes at intersections in Tennessee:

Failure to Yield Right-of-Way

One of the top causes of intersection T-bone collisions is when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way to oncoming cross traffic. This often happens when a driver runs a stop sign or red light. Drivers may also fail to yield when turning left across oncoming lanes.


Excessive speed is a major factor in many deadly T-bone crashes. When vehicles approach an intersection at high speeds, drivers have less time to react and stop to avoid a collision. Higher speeds also increase the severity of impact forces in a crash.

Driver Inattention

Drivers who are distracted, drowsy, or otherwise inattentive are at high risk of T-boning another vehicle in an intersection. Failing to properly scan intersections before entering or anticipating cross traffic can lead to devastating broadside collisions.

Intoxicated Driving

Drunk, drugged, and drowsy driving impairs drivers’ abilities to safely negotiate intersections. Response times are slowed, judgment is impaired and attention levels drop. Tennessee sees many DUI-related T-bone crashes at intersections.

Obscured View

Blind intersections, overgrown vegetation, impaired visibility due to weather conditions, and other obscured views make it difficult for drivers to see oncoming cross traffic. This leads to more intersection T-bone collisions.

Aggressive Driving

Drivers who follow too closely, change lanes erratically, or drive in an impatient and irresponsible manner are more likely to cause serious T-bone crashes at intersections.

Driver Distraction

The use of mobile devices like cell phones is a growing problem in Tennessee. Drivers who talk, text or otherwise engage with their phones are cognitively distracted. This distraction causes them to overlook stop signs, traffic signals, and oncoming vehicles when entering intersections.

Failure to Scan Intersections

Drivers often fail to properly scan intersections before proceeding through them. Only doing a quick visual check fails to identify all potential crossing hazards. Collisions result when drivers do not take the time to thoroughly assess intersections.

Running Red Lights

Some impatient and aggressive drivers deliberately run red lights long after the signal has turned red. This tremendously raises the chance of T-boning a crossing vehicle that has the right-of-way. Red light cameras can deter this dangerous behavior.

The Severe Consequences of T-Bone Crashes

While any intersection collision can cause injuries, T-bone crashes are particularly devastating:

Intense Side Impact Forces

When a vehicle broadsides another at a perpendicular angle, it allows the full force of the collision to impact the side of the vehicle. Modern cars are designed to absorb frontal and rear impacts, but offer less protection in side impacts. This subjects occupants to intense lateral forces that can cause major trauma.

Lack of Protection to Occupants

With little structure between occupants and the point of impact, T-bone crashes result in the most severe injuries. Vehicle doors, windows, and frames provide little protection, allowing occupants to be violently tossed and crushed inside cars.

Traumatic Brain and Spinal Injuries

The sudden and intense lateral impact forces of a T-bone crash make traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage common. These can lead to long-term disabilities or death.

Severed Limbs

It is not uncommon for T-bone collision victims to suffer amputated or severed arms, legs, and hands due to the direct impact forces on the side of the vehicle. These devastating injuries often leave victims permanently disabled.

Intrusion into Passenger Compartment

The intruding vehicle can partially collapse the side of the victim’s vehicle, cause windows and roofs to shatter, and pin occupants inside the wreck – compounding injuries.

Lacerations and Blunt Force Trauma

Shattered glass and collapsing metal structures in the vehicle cause deep lacerations and extensive bruising and contusions to T-bone victims. This blunt force trauma can damage organs and body systems.


With little to no protection for occupants, rapidly decelerating forces, and high-speed impacts, T-bone crashes often result in immediate fatalities. Ambulances find victims already deceased upon arrival in many cases.

T-bone crashes result in some of the worst injuries seen by Tennessee trauma centers. Victims often face a lifetime of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and permanent impairment.

Preventing T-Bone Collisions in Tennessee Intersections

While T-bone crashes may seem unavoidable, there are measures we can take to reduce their frequency and severity:

Education and Awareness

Driver education should emphasize the immense dangers of T-bone crashes and teach defensive driving skills. Public awareness campaigns can also help curb risky driving behaviors that lead to these collisions.

Intersection Design Improvements

Engineered safety solutions like wider intersections, reduced speeds, clearer lines of sight, longer turn lanes, and traffic control signals and signs can enhance intersection safety.

Enhanced Vehicle Safety

Advanced passenger restraint systems, side airbags, and improved vehicle structure and design help protect occupants in side impacts. Newer vehicles or retrofit safety options can reduce T-bone injuries.

Impaired and Distracted Driving Enforcement

Stepped up DUI enforcement and distracted driving laws deter dangerous driving behaviors that are major contributors to T-bone crashes.

Adopting a Safety Mindset

Defensive drivers approach intersections with caution, reduce speeds, look for crossing vehicles, and are prepared to stop. Refusing to drive impaired or distracted also prevents T-bones.

Infrastructure Improvements

Investing in modern roundabouts, median barriers, and turning lanes with signals reduces intersection conflicts between vehicles. Improved lighting and cleared vegetation also boost safety.

By being aware of the risks, driving responsibly, and supporting safety initiatives, we can work together to reduce needless tragedies from broadside crashes on Tennessee roads.

If You Were Injured in a T-Bone Collision

If you or a loved one suffered catastrophic injuries in an intersection T-bone car accident that was caused by a negligent driver, you may have a right to significant compensation. An experienced Tennessee car accident attorney can help injured victims recover damages for medical expenses, lost income, disability, and pain and suffering.

Contact our experienced intersection accident lawyers today on (888) 477-0597 for a free consultation on your potential injury claim. We have 32 offices in 19 states, including Tennessee, Virginia, and Arizona, and are committed to holding reckless drivers accountable and getting injured victims the maximum compensation they deserve after a traumatic crash.

Don’t delay in getting legal help – there are strict time limits for filing T-bone accident claims in Tennessee. Call now to learn your options.