Rear-end Collision Statistics

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rear end car accident statistics

According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions account for only 6% of fatal automobile crashes. However, they account for 28% of all automobile accidents, making them one of the most frequent types of automobile accidents in the United States.

Rear-end collisions in which the vehicle in front is stopping or moving very slowly prior to the accident account for the overwhelming majority of these accidents. This should not come as a surprise since most of us don't give enough consideration to the distance between us and the car in front of us.

So, What Are The Most Common Causes of Rear-end Collisions?

The most common causes of rear-end collisions are:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Following too closely

A study done by the Transportation Research Center at Ohio State University indicated that we tend not to focus on how close we are to the vehicle in front of us, nor on how fast we are traveling behind it.

However, we do tend to focus on the rate of gap change. When the gap between us and the car in front of us is steady, we get complacent. Then we lose our focus and glance away, as if there is no chance of the car in front braking.

The study also found that when we glance away, we take our eyes off of what is going on in front of us for up to 1.0 seconds, which is substantially shorter than when we don't have a car in front of us (up to 2.0 seconds), but fails to take into account things such as what the driver ahead of us might be seeing and how quickly he or she may need to brake.

Where Do Drivers Most Often Get Their Cues to Brake?

In general, we get our cues to break from three major categories:

  • Cues that vary, such as brake lights that depend on the behavior of other drivers and/or road conditions, etc.
  • Fixed cues that we can see, such as the terrain or geography, or things we are alerted to by road signs.
  • Our own spatial and depth perception of the car ahead us and the rate of gap change, as mentioned above.

How Can Rear-end Collisions Be Best Avoided?

As it turns out, that old rule of keeping at least one car-length of distance for every 10 miles per hour we are traveling is a pretty good idea.

However, since most of us don't take into consideration the distance to the car in front the of us, nor the speed at which we are following, there is a need for a new vehicle-to-vehicle technology that can help us monitor the distance between us and the car ahead.

Forward Collision Detection and Automatic Collision Avoidance Braking, which are becoming more common in vehicles today, are simpler forms of this kind of technology. But, as we wait for more advanced technology to be developed, here are some effective tips for avoiding rear-end collisions:

  • Eliminate distractions while driving
  • Practice the one-car-length rule
  • Allow extra distance for stopping in bad weather and when driving a large vehicle
  • Stay focused on the road
  • Always be prepared to take evasive action.

And to avoid being rear-ended, always brake early enough to give the driver behind you sufficient warning that you are slowing down or coming to a stop.

California Car Accident Lawyer

A car accident can change your life instantly, and you will only have one opportunity to recover the compensation you deserve. Therefore, you need a lawyer who is experienced and who will fight aggressively on your behalf. Never accept a settlement without first seeking the advice of an experienced California car accident lawyer.

Those who would like to speak to a Timothy J. Ryan & Associates legal professional to obtain a free case evaluation for their rear end car accident can do so by calling (800) 838-6644 or filling out our contact form.

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