Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of crashes. In a head-on collision, the front ends of two vehicles crash into one another, concentrating the maximum amount of force into the collision. With increased force, the chances of injury for all parties involved is also increased. Even at slow speeds, the effects of a head-on collision are catastrophic. Because of the seriousness of head-on collisions, it is critical to understand why they happen and how to protect yourself if you or a loved one has been hurt in a head-on collision.
Causes of Head-on Collisions
- Driving under the influence: Drugs and alcohol are major contributors to head-on collisions in the US. Drivers should avoid getting behind the wheel if they have had any drugs or alcohol. Accidents resulting from driving under the influence could happen at any time of day, but are particularly dangerous at night when drug and alcohol use is highest.
- Fog or snow: Although only a fraction of head-on crashes are attributed to bad weather, fog or snow do still limit visibility and could potentially cause an accident.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is a leading cause of head-on collisions in the US. Drivers may be distracted by a number of factors including cell phone use, eating and drinking, other passengers, loud music, daydreaming and watching the scenery.
- Confusing roadways: Poor signage or missing signage could easily disorient drivers and cause them to swerve into another lane. Inaccurate GPS instructions also contribute to driver confusion on a roadway.
- Sleepiness and driver fatigue: A sleep-deprived driver suffers from slowed reaction times and impaired judgment. Drivers who are fatigued may fall asleep at the wheel or drift into other lanes. Many popular strategies for fighting off fatigue such as opening windows or turning up the radio have proven wholly ineffective.
- Debris in the road: Debris in the road, such as loose gravel or fallen tree limbs, can be difficult to see. Drivers will often swerve to avoid debris, often resulting in a head-on collision with a car in another lane.
Typical Injuries Resulting from a Head-on Collision
Serious, life-altering injuries can occur as a result of head-on collisions. Some of the most common injuries sustained by those involved in head-on collisions include:
- Neck injuries: Almost a third of all neck injuries are a direct result frontal car-crashes. In a head-on crash, the impact of the collision forces the neck to violently pitch forward, backward and side-to-side, resulting in whiplash or—worse—mild to severe spinal cord injuries.
- Head trauma: Like the neck, the head is thrown back and forth and side-to-side in a head-on crash, often resulting in concussions or severe head trauma.
- Secondary injuries: In a head-on collision, loose objects may be thrown about the cabin of the vehicle, resulting in blunt head trauma. Additionally, shattered and glass and metal contribute to secondary injuries like cuts, bruises and scrapes.
- Death: Death is an unfortunate outcome in a lot of head-on crashes. The percentage of deaths by head-on crashes is small, but no less significant.
According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an average of 360 lives are lost each year in about 260 fatal wrong-way collisions. Unfortunately, this statistic has remained essentially unchanged since the report was first published in 2012.
What to Do if You Have Been Hurt in a Head-On Collision
It goes without saying: even if you do not feel like you were hurt, seek medical attention immediately after a head-on crash. Next, contact an experienced car crash attorney. If someone else caused the crash, your attorney may be able to help you recover compensatory damages for:
- Emotional suffering
- Bodily pain
- Past, present and future medical costs and lost income
- Funeral costs and other out-of-pocket expenses
In a head-on crash, insurance companies are often foe, not friend. It is important to hire experienced car crash attorney to evaluate whether you have a claim and help fight back against insurance companies who may try to minimize the amount you receive in compensatory damages. Contact Gebhard Law today to see how we can help you.