Lyrically, a car accident can serve as a story's sad conclusion, or a starting block for a newfound sense of purpose, or any sort of metaphor you like. Here's a mixed bag showing how various artists have utilised the super popular theme.
Eminem feat. Dido, Stan
In Eminem's giant hit, deluded Shady fan Stan deliberately crashes his car off a bridge after he imagines the rapper has ignored his (frankly pretty scary) letters. Turns out the postal service is just really bad. Several variations of Stan's clip exist, with offensive lyrics cut out or replaced; footage which depicts Stan's girlfriend (played by guest vocalist Dido) tied up in the boot and struggling to breathe as Stan hoons down the highway is usually omitted.
This is one of Radiohead's most uplifting tracks, and it is also the song I have written on my coma card (skip to 20:09, or in a wonderfully serendipitous turn, play from the start to see Safran's parody of Eminem's Stan, entitled Green Eggs And Ham). “I’m amazed that I survived, an airbag saved my life… I am back to save the universe,” Thom Yorke sings, with that last repeated refrain suggesting the feeling of shiny, brand new opportunity you get after you narrowly avoid decapitation.
Kanye West, Through The Wire
In October 2002, poor Kanye had his jaw wired shut after a godawful car accident: "Somebody ordered pancakes, I just sip the sizzurp/ that right there could drive a sane man berserk," he laments, but as the track goes on he affirms "I'm a champion, so I turned tragedy to triumph/ Make music that's fire, spit my soul through the wire."
Warning: the clip includes footage of West at the surgeon's (not gory, but if you don't like the dentist you should probably avoid).
Siouxsie And The Banshees, Kiss Them For Me
Siouxsie Sioux’s awesome ode to actress Jayne Mansfield (whom you may know as the woman whose cleavage Sophia Loren is eyeing off in the famous photograph) traverses the actress’s glittering Hollywood lifestyle, and concludes with the car accident that took the 34-year-old’s life in 1967: “On the road to New Orleans/ A spray of stars hit the screen… Kiss them for me, I may be delayed.”
Suede, Daddy’s Speeding
There are several bands who’ve used the untimely death of James Dean (1955) as the kernel for a track’s theme; Suede conflate the car accident which killed the 24-year-old with bigger adolescent ambitions: “And daddy turned a million heads/ Took the teenage dream to bed/ He crashed the car and left us here.”
Bachelor Girl, Buses And Trains
This one falls into the metaphor camp but we can't go past vocalist Tania Doko likening falling in love to getting hit by every sort of large vehicle. In other inane lyrical content: "Hey mum... what was it like when you were young? Has the world changed or is it still the same?" Nobody asks their mum such a leading, open-ended, bootlicking question unless they've just accidentally pranged her car.
Image courtesy of sazninjacookie