Head-on accidents may not be as common as fender benders or rear-end collisions, but they represent some of the most dangerous car accidents on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), head-on collisions are responsible for less than 7% of fatal car accidents in urban areas like Washington D.C.; however, they make up 13% of rural fatal car accidents. Even accidents that do not end fatally often result in serious injury that may require a lifetime of treatment.
What Causes Head-On Collisions?
There are many causes of head-on collisions. In most cases, they involve a driver who crosses over the center lane into oncoming traffic and collides with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. These are considered road-departure crashes. Many head-on collisions are caused by some sort of driver error, including distracted driving or drowsy driving. Some drivers may be trying to pass another vehicle and do not have the space or time to get back into their lane before causing a crash. This is one reason that head-on collisions are much more common in rural areas without highways.
Other accidents are caused by medical emergencies, including drivers who suffer heart attacks, strokes, or some other emergency that leaves them unable to control the vehicle. In some cases, a vehicle malfunction is to blame for causing the accident. Common vehicle defects include unintended acceleration, seat recline mechanism defects, and airbag defects. Any of these vehicle defects can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The vehicle may drift over the center divider into oncoming traffic.
Impaired driving is a major cause of head-on collisions. Drivers may be drinking and driving, under the influence of illegal narcotics, or taking prescription medicine which may impair their ability to drive. Impaired drivers can have difficulty with vehicle tracking and following road signals. This can increase the likelihood that they will cross over into oncoming traffic, or even enter highway on/off ramps going the wrong direction.
There are a number of strategies that individuals and municipalities can use to reduce the number of head-on crashes. City and state government can install centerline rumble strips for two-lane roads, provide wider cross sections, and use alternating passing lanes at locations where head-on collisions are more common.
Drivers have to remain vigilant, watching for drivers who may be trying to pass too late, slowing down, and safely moving over to avoid a crash. However, in some cases, there is nothing a driver can do to prevent becoming the victim of a head-on collision. Wearing a seatbelt remains one of the simplest ways to prevent a fatal injury in a car accident. According to the NHTSA, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% in a car, and by 60% in a light truck.
Head-On Collision Injuries
Head-on collisions often involve high rates of speed and vehicles traveling in different directions. These can also involve multiple vehicles, resulting in compound accidents. These powerful forces can cause serious injuries to passengers and drivers in all vehicles involved. Common injuries include disfigurement, broken bones, neck and back injuries, head trauma, and internal injuries. In many cases, the injured occupants may find themselves trapped in the vehicle unable to get out. The longer it takes an injured individual to get out of the car and receive medical attention can increase the risk of serious injury or death.
After a head-on collision, the injured occupants may have extensive medical bills, and be out of work for weeks or months. In some cases, they may never be able to return to work again. The person responsible for causing the accident should be held accountable for the damage they caused. Contact an experienced DC accident attorney to make sure you have someone who will fight for you to get you compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
DC Head-On Collision Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a head-on collision, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian is here to help. It takes time to recover from a serious injury, and you should not have to deal with the stress of fighting with the insurance company. This is why you should talk to a lawyer about taking on your case so you can focus on recovery. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with automobile accident cases throughout the DC Metro area. We will fight for your rights to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.