Understanding Rear-End Collisions to Keep Your Distance From Disaster
One of the most common types of car accidents is the rear-end collision. Rear-end collisions occur when a car, truck, or motorcycle collides into the back of another vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 30% of all crashes and accident-related injuries result from rear-end collisions.
Although liability for these types of accidents generally falls on the driver who collided into the front vehicle, this isn’t always the case.
Determining Liability Based on Circumstances
It may seem obvious that when a car collides into the back of another, the driver of that vehicle should be held responsible for damages. After all, he should have been able to stop before hitting the car in front of him. However, just because the rear driver was unable to brake in time, doesn't mean that his actions are responsible for the crash. A rear-end collision can be caused by many factors, including:
Distraction of either driver. Texting, using cell phones, fiddling with external devices, and other driving distractions account for a surprisingly high number of car accidents, including rear-end collisions. When a driver is not focused on the road in front of him, it is impossible for him to see or acknowledge a potential threat. This is true for lead drivers as well as following drivers. If the lead driver slams on his brakes without warning because he was too preoccupied to notice a potential hazard in the road, it doesn't matter if you were paying attention, you may still wind up colliding into him as a result of his sudden braking. On the other hand, if you are too preoccupied to notice that the car ahead of you is slowing down, you may not have enough time to brake before slamming into him.
Speeding. To avoid a rear-end collision, it is important to maintain an adequate stopping distance between your car and the car ahead of you. However, the faster your car travels, the larger the required stopping distance, as it will take longer for your car to decelerate. Therefore, when you speed, you increase your risk of a rear-end collision because you increase your risk of not being able to stop in time.
Surprise braking. If the car ahead of you suddenly brakes without warning, causing you to collide into him, you can't have been expected to have predicted his actions. However, you may still be held liable if you were not maintaining an adequate stopping distance or if you were not paying attention and didn’t realize he was braking.
Surprise lane changing. In some cases, a rear end collision can be caused by a driver changing lanes in front of another without looking to ensure the lane was clear. If you happen to be in the car’s blind spot and he swerves into your path, he would be at fault.
Staying Ahead of the Game by Avoiding Rear-End Collisions
Now that you are aware of the common causes of rear-end accidents, you can take the proper precautions to avoid rear-end injuries. To protect yourself and loved ones, always remember to drive with caution and control, and deliberately place extra focus on the following:
Paying attention. Driver distractions are a leading causes of car accidents. Put your devices down and pay attention to the road ahead to decrease your risk of a rear-end collision.
Stopping distance. Make sure you always have enough distance between the front of your vehicle and the back of the vehicle ahead of you to allow for an adequate cushion of space when stopping.
Speed. The faster you are driving, the more distance you will need to stop. Be sure to maintain an adequate stopping distance for your speed to prevent a rear-end collision.
Location of surrounding traffic. Although you may be focused on the car ahead, you must also be aware of the traffic around you to ensure that another vehicle will not change lanes ahead of you, causing you to collide into his rear.
For more information on car accidents and rear-end collisions, feel free to browse our extensive library of educational resources, or contact us directly for a free consultation and review of your case. We'll be happy to discuss your legal options and work toward getting you the compensation your injuries require.