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Common Causes of Head-On Collisions

| June 2, 2020

Head-on collisions are among the most dangerous types of car accidents that a driver or passenger can suffer. In 2017, frontal impact crashes (which include head-on collisions) accounted for over half (56%) of passenger vehicle deaths. These types of crashes are also more common in rural areas where roads are narrower and vehicles tend to travel at higher speeds, accounting for 13% of fatal crashes, compared to only 7% of fatal crashes in urban areas. But why do head-on collisions occur? After all, shouldn’t each driver be able to clearly see the other approaching?

Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple. Below, we’ll take a look at a few of the most common reasons why head-on accidents occur.

Distracted Driving

Human error is far and away the leading cause of all types of vehicle accidents, accounting for 94% of all crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A major contributing factor to car accidents caused by human error is distracted driving, including texting, grooming, eating, and adjusting radio and climate control dials. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road — even momentarily — can cause them to drift out of their lane and hit an oncoming vehicle.

Reduced Visibility

Weather conditions that limit a driver’s visibility (such as rain, snow, or fog) can also increase the risk of head-on collisions, as it can often be difficult for drivers in these conditions to see where the center line of the roadway is. These weather conditions also make it harder to see approaching vehicles, especially if the approaching vehicle has dim or faulty headlights.

Passing on Two-Lane Roads

While passing on two-lane roads is perfectly legal (on portions of roadways where it is permitted), that does not mean that it is risk-free. Head-on collisions can often result from drivers trying to pass more than one car at a time or misjudging how far away an oncoming car in the other lane is.

One-Way Street Errors

Busy urban areas with many one-way streets can often be confusing, especially for drivers who are visiting or are otherwise unfamiliar with how one-way streets work. Even the most prudent and cautious of suburban and rural drivers can easily turn the wrong way down a one-way street, resulting in a head-on collision.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs greatly impairs a driver’s judgment, reduces their fine motor skills, and slows their reaction time. Drunk or otherwise impaired drivers can very easily make fatal errors, such as driving on the wrong side of the road or attempting to get onto a limited-access highway using an off-ramp. As such, this type of behavior is a very common cause of head-on collisions.

Contact a Waldorf Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in a head-on collision, you may be able to pursue a personal injury action against the at-fault driver to recover for your damages. For more information about legal claims regarding wrong-way and head-on collisions, contact the Waldorf car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles at 301-705-5006 for a consultation. We can help you and your family get the compensation that you deserve.