Every year there are 1.7 million rear-end collisions in the US, which comprises a whopping one-third of all motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, rear-end collisions result in 17,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries annually. In addition to following too closely, the main causes of rear-end crashes are speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, fatigued driving, heavy traffic, and mechanical failure. Read on to learn more about the most common causes of rear-end collisions.
The greater your speed, the longer it will take for you to stop. For example, at 20 mph it will take you three car lengths to stop. At 60 mph, on the other hand, it will take you 18 car lengths to stop. It’s important to be aware of stopping distances at every speed and drive accordingly.
2. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving includes anything that takes your attention from the road, such as texting, eating, or changing the radio station. Distracted driving is one of the main causes of accidents involving young drivers, and it’s often a factor in rear-end collisions.
3. Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence drastically decreases your reaction speed, which greatly increases the distance it will take for you to stop.
4. Driving While Fatigued
Fatigue is a factor in as many as 20% of fatal crashes. Studies have even shown that driving tired is as bad as driving under the influence. In some cases, it may even be worse.
5. Heavy Traffic
When there are more vehicles on the road, there are more opportunities for things to go wrong. If you don’t adjust your driving to reflect these conditions, you could potentially get into an accident.
6. Mechanical Failure
Mechanical failures cause 10-15 percent of all accidents in the U.S. The most common mechanical failures that lead to crashes include blown tires, bad brakes, faulty steering and suspension, inadequate headlights/taillights, and bad windshield wipers.
Liability for Rear-End Collisions
In most cases, the person who crashes into the back of another vehicle is the one who is at fault, regardless of weather conditions or other factors. This is because all drivers are required to maintain assured clear distance, which means you should always leave enough space to be able to stop under any conditions. There are some exceptions, however. If you’re pushed into a car by someone who hits you from behind, or if you hit a broken-down car that does not have any warning lights, you may not be at fault.
Avoiding a Rear-End Collision
Most rear-end collisions are preventable If everyone drove safely and left enough distance between them and the car in front of them, the number of rear-end accidents would be greatly reduced – as would the number of injuries and deaths associated with them. However, it is unrealistic to think that everyone will start behaving correctly while driving; this is where technology comes in.
Although they are not required, collision warning and avoidance systems are becoming standard on most new cars. While collision warning systems do help, automatic braking systems could potentially prevent 87% of rear-end accidents just by taking human error out of the equation.
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision, you need a competent lawyer on your side who is well versed in car wreck cases. To speak with an experienced personal injury attorney, call the offices of Ted Machi and Associates today. We specialize in car accidents and personal injury cases.