Australia’s most common accident types revealed in 2018 AAMI Crash Index

6 December 2018

The 2018 AAMI Crash Index has revealed that Australia’s most common type of motor vehicle accident is nose-to-tail collisions, i.e. one vehicle running into the back of another. This type of crash makes up 31 per cent of all road accidents.

The data looks at claims from one of Australia’s largest and most awarded insurers, AAMI, part of the Suncorp Network. It shows that certain states of Australia are worse than others for particular types of accidents. Take a look at the most common types of accidents in Australia and see how your state compares. It’s also important to always keep road safety front of mind to ensure you don’t end up like the thousands of Australian road users who find themselves in accidents each year.

The nation’s most prevalent type of accident

Whether through speeding, inattention or not leaving adequate braking distance, Australian drivers crashing into the back of each other (nose-to-tail collision) occurs more than any other type of accident – making up 31 per cent of all claims. Road users not obeying the rules contributed to the second most common type of accident – with 23 per cent of all claims arising from a driver failing to give way.

Australian drivers also seem to have issues with things that aren’t in motion, including stationary objects (18 per cent of all crashes) and parked cars (eight per cent of all crashes). Not looking back is a philosophy that 12 per cent of road users involved in an accident are applying to their driving, with collisions while reversing making it into the top five most common types of accidents. And drivers hitting an animal is also cause for concern, particularly in the less densely populated areas of Australia (such as the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania) – this type of accident made up six per cent of all crashes.

Explore the most common types of road accidents in your state


Queensland is mostly on par with the national average when it comes to most types of accidents, with the exception being collisions with a stationary object. Perhaps Queensland drivers are drifting off in thought about how nice a dip in the pool or at the beach will be, regardless, they fail to avoid stationary objects more so than the national average. This highlights that being aware of your surroundings is important at all times.

New South Wales

As the previous three AAMI Crash Index reports have found, New South Wales drivers are the nation’s worst culprits in terms of failing to give way. It could be that NSW drivers are simply trying to get ahead of the traffic or that they’re timepoor people in a hurry - either way, this type of accident has yet again proven to be an issue.

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Whether Victorians are Australia’s number one tail-gaters, or they’re texting their friends about where they’re going to get their next amazing coffee from, one thing is for sure: their attention is often not on the vehicle in front of them. Victorian drivers are the worst of the worst when it comes to nose-to-tail collisions – making up one-third of all accidents on the garden state’s roads.

South Australia

South Australian drivers are boring i.e. they’re not making the headlines as being the worst in any one type of accident, however they are above the national average for accidents involving parked cars and stationary objects. So, regardless of whether you’re backing out of a car park at a winery, or simply the local shopping centre, make sure you’re aware of all your surroundings and practice safe driving techniques.

Australian Capital Territory

For Australia’s second-least populated state/territory, it is somewhat surprising that the ACT ranked second only to Victoria for nose-to-tail collisions. This type of road accident is typically more prevalent in states/territories that are more heavily populated. Aside from drivers hitting an animal, which is nearly double the national average, the ACT is mostly on par with the rest of the country in terms of most common accident types.


Tasmania is the only state in Australia where nose-to-tail collisions aren’t the most common type of accident – although Tasmania does share this with the Northern Territory. Tasmanians are 14 per cent less likely to have this type of accident, compared to the national average. Whilst Tasmanians can pat themselves on the back there, they are significantly worse than the national average – to the tune of 11 per cent – when it comes to collisions with a stationary object.

Western Australia

WA’s driving shame is collisions while reversing, with drivers clearly failing to look behind themselves properly. And this type of accident continues to plague WA drivers, as they’ve been holding this unwanted mantle for three years running. Although not the worst culprit, drivers in WA also collided with a stationary object five per cent more than the national average.

Northern Territory

Just as Tasmanians have bucked the trend with nose-to-tail type collisions, so have Northern Territory drivers. They also know how to give way; only 14 per cent of all accidents occur by NT drivers failing to give way – nine per cent less than the national average. Sadly however, you’re more likely to hit an animal with your vehicle in the Northern Territory than any other state or territory of Australia – with a rate that’s over two times higher than the national average.

Road safety tips

There are many factors that contribute to certain types of accidents being more common than others, such as higher or lower volumes of traffic and congestion, the prevalence of traffic lights, and dimly or poorly lit highways and roads. Therefore, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings, practice safe driving and remain vigilant. Here are some simple road safety tips to follow:

  • Avoid distractions, such as using your mobile phone or digital device
  • Pay particular attention in busy or accident-prone areas, in bad weather conditions, and at night – when it’s more likely that you may be tired, not be able to see as far ahead, or there may be wildlife on the road
  • Leave a reasonable braking distance between you and the vehicle in front – this will vary depending on the weather conditions and how fast you’re travelling.

Motor vehicle accidents of all types can happen regardless of what state you live in, or how switched-on you may be, which is why making sure your Car Insurance cover and Roadside Assistance are up to date is super important.

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*Data and insights provided by AAMI, which is part of the Suncorp Network.

**AAMI Crash Index 2018 covers claims data collected between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018.

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Information provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision regarding this product. Suncorp Roadside Assist is provided by Digicall Assist Pty Ltd. For full coverage details, please see the Suncorp Insurance Roadside Assist Terms and Conditions . This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Terms and conditions for coverage apply.