Head-On Collisions: Less Common, But More Dangerous, Than Many Imagine

It is a terrifying thought, looking through your car’s windshield to see another vehicle’s headlights coming straight at you. Head-on collisions are particularly terrifying to contemplate. Surprisingly, they are actually relatively uncommon, but head-on accidents can be among the most dangerous of roadway crashes. As an Oakland accident attorney specializing in cases involving catastrophic injuries, Attorney Brod is prepared to help victims of these crashes recover damages via a personal injury lawsuit or, in the case of a fatal accident, wrongful death claim.

Head-On Accident Claims Life in Half Moon Bay
It was shortly after 6 A.M. on Tuesday when the driver of a gray Volkswagen Jetta decided to pass a big-rig truck heading west on Highway 92 in Half Moon Bay near Pastorino Farms. CHP Officer Amelia Jack told The Oakland Tribune that the westbound Jetta crossed into the eastbound lane and collided with a Dodge Ram truck. The unidentified 20 year-old driver of the Jetta died in the head-on crash. The truck driver sustained only minor injuries.

Studies and Statistics Regarding Head-On Crashes
Studies show that head-on collisions are less common than many other forms of automobile accidents, but that they are also among the most deadly types of collisions. A number of sources, including Wikipedia, report that head-on collisions represented only about 2% of all collisions nationwide in 2005. Although these sources do not cite a specific study, these sources also report that head-on crashes are disproportionately fatal, accounting for 10% of fatal crashes in that year.
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It may be surprising to hear, but passing is actually not the most common cause of head-on collisions. One of the twenty-two focal areas in the Strategic Highway Safety Plan developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is understanding and reducing the occurrence of head-on accidents. In a portion of their study, the group cites statistics finding that only 4.2% of head-on crashes on undivided two-lane roads involved a driver attempting to pass or overtake another vehicle. A comparable percentage applied to rural roads. In contrast, 68% of fatal head-on accidents involved vehicles that were “going straight” and 23% involved a driver who was “negotiating a curve.”

Preventing Head-On Collisions and Protecting the Victims
Communities can take a number of pro-active steps to reduce head-on accidents. Such measures include improving signage, installing road surface markings such as rumble strips to alert drivers when they are drifting, and installing physical median barriers. However, community efforts are useless unless drivers also take responsibility. Even though passing is not the most common cause of head-on collisions, drivers should still exercise caution when overtaking another vehicle. Drivers should stay alert to a road’s curves and take the curves at an appropriate speed given the severity of the curve and other conditions. Finally, drivers should always focus on driving and avoid distractions that can lead to drifting into an opposing lane. Looking at the road from the start eliminates the risk of looking down, such as one might do when reading a text message, and then looking back up to see headlights, the terrifying image presented in the opening lines of this post.

If another driver’s negligence led to a head-on collision that left you injured or claimed the life of a loved one in Northern California, we can help. Our Oakland car crash lawyer specializes in helping the victims of the most serious accidents, including head-on collisions. Call to arrange a free consultation so we can begin the process of getting you the compensation you deserve.

See Related Blog Posts:
Speeding: An All-Too-Common Threat to Roadway Safety

Fatal Accident Serves as Reminder of the Danger of Distracted Driving

(Photo credit: Oragesky3)