Driving tests

Types of crash

There are 72 classifications of crashes and loss-of-control incidents used by accident investigators and police.

Diagrams are used to quickly describe the accident, and these are published with a guide by NZTA for how to code crashes.

The motion or action of the vehicles in the crash can be augmented with information about any other factors such as the type and quality of signage, the state of the driver (e.g. drunk), environmental factors such as whether sun strike played a part, the condition of the road, the condition of the vehicle and more.

Overtaking and lane change

Pulling out or changing lane to the right – the vehicle moves from the left lane to the right lane on a dual carriageway, or pulls out from the kerb

Head on – overtaking or drifting out of the lane into the opposing lane

Cutting in or changing lane to the left – not ensuring that you’re completely past the vehicle you’re overtaking

Lost control overtaking vehicle – sometimes the acceleration and extra speed required for overtaking can cause a driver to lose control

Side road – a vehicle emerges from a side road while another vehicle is overtaking on the main road

Lost control being overtaken – a vehicle overtakes you and you lose control

Weaving in heavy traffic – a vehicle changes lanes frequently to try to get ahead in heavy traffic and causes an incident.

Head on

On straight – where the road is fundamentally straight

Cutting corner – on a right-hand bend, crossing the centre line

Swinging wide – on a left-hand bend, leaving the left lane

Both or unknown

Lost control on straight

Lost control on curve

Lost control or off road (straight roads)

Out of control on roadway – spins or otherwise loses control but stays on the road

Off roadway to left – drives off the road to the left

Off roadway to right – drives off the road to the right


Lost control turning right

Lost control turning left

Missed intersection or end of road

Collision with obstruction

Parked vehicle – the vehicle is stopped, but not in traffic

Accident or broken down – i.e. colliding with another vehicle that’s already crashed or has broken down

Non-vehicular obstructions (including animals) – this includes items in the road such as rockfall or that have fallen off other vehicles

Workman’s vehicle – this could include maintenance vehicles attending to the road or power lines

Opening door – a parked vehicle’s door is opened and you hit it

Rear end

Slow vehicle – you didn’t notice the vehicle ahead was driving slowly

Cross traffic – the vehicle is stopped to wait for other traffic crossing from the left or right

Pedestrian – the vehicle hits a pedestrian

Queue – the vehicle runs into the back of another vehicle in a queue of traffic

Signals – you hit another vehicle waiting at traffic lights


Turning versus same direction

Rear of left-turning vehicle – you didn’t notice the vehicle was turning

Left side side-swipe – the other vehicle turns across in front of you from the left, e.g. it’s a truck that had to swing out wide to turn left

Stopped or turning from left side – a vehicle pulling out from the left side intending drive into a side road

Near centre line – a vehicle is turning right at the centre line and you run into it

Overtaking vehicle – you are overtaking a vehicle in the opposing lane and it turns right

Two turning – both vehicles are turning and one hits the other

Crossing (no turns)

Right angle (70-110 degrees) – side impact at a t-intersection

Crossing (vehicle turning)

Right turn right side – impact with a vehicle from your left turning across in front of you while you want to go straight ahead

Two turning – you are turning right into a terminating road and the other vehicle is turning right out of the terminating road of a t-intersection, or vice versa


Left turn in – another vehicle joins the road from the left

Right turn in – another vehicle joins the road from the right

Two turning – one vehicle turns left and the other turns right into the same lane

Right turn against

Stopped waiting to turn – a vehicle waiting to make a right-hand turn is hit

Making turn – a vehicle turning right pulls across in front of an opposing vehicle going straight ahead


Parking or leaving

U-turn – a vehicle doing a u-turn in front of you either from the other side of the road or your side of the road

Driveway manoeuvre

Parking opposite – a vehicle trying to get into a car park on your side of the road from the opposing side

Angle parking – a vehicle reversing out of an angle park

Reversing along road

Pedestrians crossing road

Left side – pedestrians stepping into the road from the left

Right side – pedestrians stepping into the road from the right

Left turn left side – pedestrians walking along a footpath and you turn into them

Right turn right side – pedestrians walking along a footpath and you turn into them

Left turn right side – pedestrians walking along a footpath and you turn into them

Right turn left side – pedestrians walking along a footpath and you turn into them

Manoeuvring vehicle – other manoeuvres

Pedestrians other

Walking with traffic – pedestrian is walking the same direction as the traffic

Walking facing traffic – pedestrian is walking in the opposite direction as the traffic

Walking on footpath

Child playing (tricycle)

Attending to vehicle – pedestrian is hit while doing something with their vehicle, e.g. removing shopping

Entering or leaving vehicle – a person getting into or out of their vehicle is hit


Fell while boarding or alighting

Fell from moving vehicle

Train – vehicle hits the train or vice versa

Parked vehicle ran away – e.g. handbrake failed

Equestrian – a horse was hit

Fell inside vehicle

Trailer or load – e.g. a trailer jackknifes or overturns.

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Darren has written over 3000 articles about driving and vehicles, plus almost 500 vehicle reviews and numerous driving courses. Connect with him on LinkedIn by clicking the name above

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