Drivers know that rear-end crashes are among the most common types of crashes.
Rear-end crashes happened daily and are often caused by a combination of factors like distracted driving, tailgating, sudden stops, and, yes, road rage. Distracted driving includes both physical and mental distractions.
Physical distractions include things like talking or texting on a cell phone, looking at the navigation system, putting on make-up, eating or drinking coffee or beverages.
Mental distractions exist when the driver is thinking of something other than the duty to drive safely and obey traffic safety laws.
When distracted, tailgating, sudden stops by the vehicle in front, failing to maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front, poor visibility conditions like slippery or uneven roads, and reduced visibility caused by fog, rain, or darkness all can impair a driver’s ability to react timely and avoid a rear-end crash.
Damages to you and your car: Depending on a variety of factors like speed at the time of the crash and the weight of the vehicles directly impact the injuries to the driver in the front vehicle. Injuries can range from whiplash, to serious neck, shoulder, head, traumatic brain injury, low back, nerve damage that may include paralysis, and in the most severe crashes – death. Additionally, drivers may suffer emotional injuries that can lead to anxiety, distress, or fear of driving. And don’t forget about property damage that can range from minor cosmetic to significant property damage, or a totaled car.
Law enforcement officials and accident reconstruction experts talk about perception and reaction times and stopping distances. Perception means the process of seeing a hazard, and reaction means the driver’s physical act of reacting to the hazard, like applying the brakes. A typical driver’s best perception and reaction times are 1.5 seconds each, when not distracted. The perception and reaction times for the average driver who is driving a typical vehicle at 30 mph will travel an estimated 45 feet in 1.5 seconds or a total of 90 feet in 3 seconds. The average driver who is traveling 60 mph will travel 90 feet in 3 seconds. These estimates do not include stopping distance or time, which involves the condition of the tires, the road conditions, and other factors like the driver’s alertness and age, all of which expand the time it takes the average driver to perceive and react to a hazard and then stop to avoid a crash.
Understanding these matters can help drivers recognize the need to stay alert, maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead, anticipate sudden stops by being aware of the traffic flow and prepare for potential stops, ensure that the vehicle’s brakes and lights are working properly, and the need to drive defensively by being aware of the surroundings and anticipating other drivers’ actions.
Awareness and proactive measures are key in preventing rear-end crashes. By understanding their causes and adopting safe driving practices, drivers can significantly reduce the risk of rear-end crashes. Each state has traffic safety laws that are designed to prevent rear-end crashes. You can Google these laws for your particular state. You will find that the laws are strikingly similar in each state.