When the front end of one vehicle collides with the front end of another vehicle, the event is called a head-on collision. These types of accidents account for about 2 percent of all accidents. Approximately 10 percent of road accident fatalities involve a head-on collision. Most often, head-on collisions cause very serious injuries.
The majority of head-on collisions are caused by negligence on the part of one or more motor vehicle operators. This type of collision can take place when a driver fails to stay in their own lane and proceeds into oncoming traffic. A head-on collision also can happen due to wrong-way driving. For example, a head-on crash can happen when a driver enters an expressway via an off-ramp exit instead of the on-ramp entrance or when a driver makes an illegal turn onto a one-way street.
Common Causes of Head-On Collisions
Driver Distraction – One of the most frequently occurring causes of head-on collisions is driver distraction. Today, with so much technology at our fingertips, it’s easy for drivers to become distracted by doing things like talking on cell phones and reading emails. Other driver distractions that can cause accidents are eating while driving and paying attention to children or other passengers instead of the road.
Severe Weather Conditions – Some head-on collisions occur due to severe weather conditions which affect roadway visibility. Inclement weather like heavy, dense fog or rainfall can dramatically reduce visibility on the roadway. When a driver does not slow down due to decreased visibility, he or she is increasing their risk of being involved in or causing an accident.
Driving While Intoxicated – When a person drives while intoxicated, their judgment is drastically impaired. A drunk driver can become distracted easily wherein he/she loses control of their vehicle by drifting into on-coming traffic to cause a head-on collision. A drunk driver who is very inebriated can become very disoriented wherein he/she does not make good driving choices. For example, a person may leave a nightclub after a long night of drinking and be so tired that he unknowingly and blindly drives down a one-way street, resulting in him crashing into another vehicle head-on. Late night head-on collisions often end in tragedy as fatalities often occur.
Inexperienced Driving – Drivers lacking experience behind the wheel often do not know all the rules of the road. Teenaged drivers all too often cause traffic accidents because they don’t know how to correct problems they’ve made in traffic or know how to correctly evade an imminent danger.
Driving While Tired – Long-distance truck drivers often push themselves to the limit by driving while they’re extremely tired. This type of driver puts everyone on the road at risk as his decision-making and reaction times are slowed due to exhaustion and tiredness. Many head-on collisions have been caused by people actually falling asleep behind the wheel. This is why it’s so important for those traveling long distances to stop their vehicles periodically so they can get out from behind the wheel to rest, drink coffee and ‘re-charge’ themselves before proceeding on.
Aggressive Driving – Aggressive driving goes beyond the phenomenon known as “road rage” as it includes tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting off other drivers off and changing lanes or turning at the last possible second. An aggressive driver is one that is unpredictable and a person who can easily cause a collision including a head-on crash.
Speeding – The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more damage will be caused if an accident does take place. Many speeding drivers operate their vehicles in an unsafe manner, putting themselves and others at high risk for injuries and even death. A speeding driver can easily miss a road sign that temporarily re-directs traffic due to construction or road resurfacing. In the most unfortunate incident, a head-on collision could occur wherein several innocent victims are injured or even killed.
Failure to Obey Traffic Signs and Signals – When a driver fails to yield, ignores a red light or blows through a stop sign, he or she is risking disaster. A negligent driver can easily hit a pedestrian, cause other vehicles to collide into each other or even collide head-on with an oncoming vehicle that is turning in front of him.
Construction and Altered Traffic Patterns – Construction zones can be very dangerous areas if drivers do not obey temporary construction zone signs. An impatient or distracted driver can easily cause a head-on collision in a construction zone if he/she does not pay close attention to signs warning of impending detours. Drivers who speed through construction zones risk causing accidents as they too often do not see or wish to heed cautionary signals or traffic directors. Drivers who fail to obey altered traffic pattern signs on city streets can also cause catastrophic head-on collisions if they were to travel into on-coming traffic in spite of being warned ahead of time.
Common Injuries Sustained in Head-on Collisions
Generally, the faster the vehicles are traveling before a head-on collision occurs, the worse the injuries of the victims will be. Studies have shown that the impact of two vehicles hitting each other while both are traveling at 50 miles per hour is the same as a vehicle traveling at 100 miles per hour, striking a stationary object.
Common injuries suffered in head-on collisions include broken bones, burns, head injuries, internal injuries, contusions and spinal cord injuries. Sadly, many victims of head-on collisions suffer very serious injuries that require extensive medical care & treatment and even long-term rehabilitation. Some of the worst injuries result in the victims needing surgical intervention to repair damage done to bones and internal organs.
If a person involved in a head-on collision is not wearing a seatbelt, he or she may be thrown from the vehicle. In the unfortunate event that a standard passenger car or motorcycle hits head-on with a semi-truck, the impact is much greater for the motor vehicle operator and motorcyclist than it is for the truck driver. In other words, most likely the motorcycle rider and car driver will suffer catastrophic injuries or even die while the truck driver may walk away from the collision unharmed or with nothing more than minor injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a head-on collision that was caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for any costs associated with your injuries. Alternately, if you’ve lost a loved one in a head-on collision, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This type of claim can help you obtain justice for the unnecessary death and to ensure that the dependents of the deceased have financial security.