How does one say that one was in an accident with one’ car?
I am not sure if any of the following phrases are correct. Please tell me if the spoken forms below are correct, or if there are any other idioms or phrases used to express this idea.

  • I hit a car in the street.
  • I crashed a car in the street.
  • I collided a car in the street.
  • It depends on what events you are describing. Each of your phrasings (including the ones in your description and title) suggests a different set of possible occurrences. The only one that doesn’t really work is “I collided a car in the street”. Collisions require two moving objects, so if one is you (or “you” abstracted to your vehicle) and one is a car, you would say “I collided with a(nother) car”. “Collision” can also be used as a noun, generally between one thing and another. Jul 7, 2014 at 18:15

3 Answers 3


The first one is OK.

The second and third can be changed like this

I crashed into a car in the street.

I collided with a car in the street.

do accident should be had an accident

  • 1
    are they naturally used while speaking? mean,, the formal way?
    – fSazy
    Jul 6, 2014 at 7:28
  • 1
    @fSazy Yes, all three would be natural in speech and easily understood by the listener.
    – Frank
    Jul 6, 2014 at 7:30
  • "I crashed a car in the street." sounds ambiguous and the "car" in this statement is understood to be one driven by the speaker, and the object into which the car crashed is left unknown. One might say "I crashed my car!"
    – TecBrat
    Jul 7, 2014 at 18:34

Informally, you can have a shunt or (esp. UK, prang), but those nouns are usually only used of relatively minor collisions (not fatal accidents). The "idiomatic" versions of OP's suggested verbs (where another vehicle is involved) are...

I hit a car in the street.
I crashed into a car in the street.
I collided with a car in the street

Note that you can say "I pranged my car" (you hit something, or ran it into a ditch, say), but you don't usually prang into another car. And as a verb usage you don't shunt your own car - you might (rarely) shunt into another vehicle, but that usually implies the other car wasn't moving at the time - if two moving vehicles collide (usually, at relatively low speeds), they have a shunt.

More serious accidents include pile-ups or smash-ups (involving three or more vehicles), but they happen on things like motorways, not streets. If a vehicle is damaged beyond economic repair you might say you totalled it (where an insurance company would say it's a total write-off, and offer you the value of the car before the accident, rather than pay for it to be repaired). You wouldn't normally use that expression if fatalities were involved.

If you're in a line of (usually, relatively slow-moving) traffic in a street and one car stops suddenly (to avoid hitting a dog, say) several of the following cars may be unable to stop in time. In which case they're involved in a shunt collision (only the tailgate/boot of the first car and the front bumper/bonnet of the last are damaged, but all the others suffer both types of damage).

  • 2
    As a side note, prang is not used much over here in the U.S. We might use ding instead.
    – J.R.
    Jul 6, 2014 at 21:58
  • ding is also used in Australia, I think.
    – jimsug
    Jul 7, 2014 at 1:56
  • @jimsug: I suppose things may be different in Australia, but in my understanding ding = [relatively small] dent. I could ding my car by clumsy parking, but I probably wouldn't call that an accident. Jul 7, 2014 at 3:02
  • @Fumble I suppose it would be accidental, but not an accident. But then, I don't think I'd use bump for an accident either.
    – jimsug
    Jul 7, 2014 at 5:55
  • @jimsug: Actually, I wouldn't normally use bump either. It was only in the answer because I googled synonym shunt prang and cut&pasted it from bthe first result. On reflection, I think only people older than me are really likely to use the term like this, so I think I'll remove it as "no longer relevant". Jul 7, 2014 at 11:27

Two Different perspectives for you.

I crashed my car - only my car had been involved in the accident (edit- most probably only my car, as otherwise, we would use one of the below sentences, except in the case of omitting what exactly you hit, in this case, you would most likely be subjected to further questioning and then would explain what exactly you had hit, thus see options below first)

I crashed my car into another car/ I hit a car/ I collided with a car - my car (or vehicle) and another had been involved.

Hope this helps!

  • I don't think so; crash doesn't require an object, so you can say I crashed my car even if you hit another car, especially if you don't want to mention this fact.
    – jimsug
    Jul 7, 2014 at 1:17
  • Yes, but without adding the specific object, we cannot be sure of what? It could be a post/tree/deer. Avoiding it in the first sentence would only lead to further interest/questioning anyway, this wouldn't be normal if you'd hit another car. However I had a car crash, now that would be more probable of further cars involved.
    – Pro ingles
    Jul 7, 2014 at 1:48
  • Yep - you can't be sure, which means that you can't rule out a collision with another car - it neither confirms nor denies this. And if, say, you wanted to avoid mentioning that you hit another car, then you could say this. And I don't know what you mean when you say it wouldn't be normal - context is everything, and if you have an unusual enough context, you can make anything normal.
    – jimsug
    Jul 7, 2014 at 1:55
  • A ruling out was no intention here, though had you hit another car, in the most part you would refer to the car you hit rather than your own.... I'm using only the context here.
    – Pro ingles
    Jul 7, 2014 at 2:01
  • "A ruling out was no intention here" But your post: "only my car had been involved in the accident". Seems like ruling out to me - may I suggest you edit your answer to clarify when this would be the case, then?
    – jimsug
    Jul 7, 2014 at 2:05

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