All types of car accidents are dangerous but there are few that are as dangerous as head-on collisions.
A head-on crash concentrates the maximum amount of momentum and energy into the collision, increasing the risk of injury. It is important to understand why head-on collisions occur, what kind of injuries they can cause, and the damages one can claim after a crash.
Reasons Why Head-on Collisions Occur
Head-on collisions can occur because of a variety of reasons. Some common causes are:
- Impaired driving – Drugs and alcohol are a common cited cause of head-on collisions. People are more likely to be drunk in the evenings and at nighttime. This increases the risk of nighttime disorientation, causing an impaired driver to enter a lane of oncoming traffic.
- Bad weather – Bad weather conditions, such as snow and fog, can limit visibility.
- Fatigue – Drivers are more likely to be fatigued and drowsy when driving after dark. Avoid driving if you are feeling sleepy or drowsy.
- One-way roads – Failure of a GPS to warn a driver about a one-way road or poor signage indicating a one-way road can lead to a head-on crash.
- Other causes – Debris on the road can cause a driver to swerve, leading to a head-on collision.
Common Injuries Caused by Head-On Crashes
Head-on collisions often lead to serious injuries. Some of the most commonly reported injuries are:
- Head injuries – Traumatic brain injuries can occur in a head-on collision, even with the proper deployment of the air bags.
- Neck injuries – The sudden forceful impact of a head-on collision can cause a sudden jerky movement of the body, throwing it forward and then bringing it to a sudden halt. This can lead to severe neck injuries.
- Bruises and cuts – Shrapnel of crushed metal or plastic and shattered glass can come in contact with the driver and other occupants and cause bruises or cuts.
- Death – Head-on collisions have a high death rate. Even though head-on collisions make up a small percentage of total accidents, they contribute significantly to traffic-related fatalities.
How to Avoid Head-On Collisions in Car Accidents
Few things are more terrifying than seeing a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road – and heading straight toward your car. Head-on collisions are extremely dangerous.
Although they comprise only 2 percent of all auto accidents, 20 percent of them are fatal, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. And those that aren’t fatal often result in catastrophic injuries, including head trauma, broken bones, and spinal cord damage.
About 75 percent of all head-on collisions occur on rural roads or undivided two-lane roads. Most often, they are caused by a driver falling asleep at the wheel, driving while distracted, drunk driving, speeding, or failing to negotiate a curve properly.
In big cities like Chicago, head-on collisions commonly happen when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way during a turn, or runs a red light or stops sign.
The good news is that many head-on collisions can be avoided, if you know what defensive actions to take.
You’ll have to take most of these actions in a split-second, so keep them in mind at all times.
- Scan the road. Constantly look at the road ahead of you, taking special notice of upcoming curves or hills. This way, you’ll be able to identify any erratic driving behavior, like a car straddling the middle line or weaving, early on. The more time you have to react to a car straying into your lane, the less likely you are to have a head-on collision.
- Reduce your speed. If you see an oncoming car in your lane, reduce your speed. This can help minimize damage and/or injuries in case of impact. But resist the temptation to slam on the brakes. If you brake too hard, you’ll be in danger of losing control of your car or having another car rear-end you.
- Drive to the right. Your chances of avoiding a head-on collision is increased if you can move as far to the right before the other car collides with yours. This increases the chance that the other driver will go right by you, or will become sufficiently alert to your presence to self-correct.
- Be prepared to ride off the road. If you’ve gone as far right as possible and you still are in danger of being hit, be ready to drive into a ditch, hedge or on the road shoulder.
- Hit a solid object, if necessary. Your chance of survival is much higher if you collide with a stationary object rather than colliding head-on with a moving vehicle. If you find you must hit a solid object, aim as far to the right of the object as possible so that it hits the side of your vehicle.
Chicago Automobile Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a head-on collision caused by a negligent driver, contact a Chicago car accident attorney from Willens Law Offices. We will help you recover economic and non-economic damages. Call us today at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.