One of the most potentially catastrophic kinds of motor vehicle accidents is a head-on collision, which can all too frequently result in fatalities. The reasons this type of car crash are so dangerous is because the force of the impact is double due to the traveling speed of the vehicles involved, and because their forward movement is stopped so suddenly. As a result, this type of automobile accident has a higher rate of causing fatalities than any other kind of crash.
The physics of a head-on collision
When two cars collide head-on, it’s like crashing into a brick wall. As an example, let’s take two cars of the same weight traveling at 60 mph. As the two cars crash into each other, they both come to an abrupt stop. As a result, there is nothing to absorb the energy of the force of the impact except the two vehicles. That’s why it is likened to hitting a brick wall. A driver would have a much better chance if he hit a parked car at that rate because the parked car would give more (absorb some of the impact) and the stopping of the crashing car would not be so abrupt.
Common causes of head-on collisions
- Going the wrong way on the road
- Crossing the center line and crashing into an on-coming vehicle
- Improper passing on a two- lane road
- Drowsy sleeping, or falling asleep at the wheel
- Speeding, in general, and speeding around a curve
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Road hazards like potholes and debris can cause a driver to serve into the on-coming lane to avoid the hazard.
- Entering a freeway on the exit ramp.
Three most common places where head-on accidents occur
- Two-lane, undivided rural roads (83%)
- Construction zones
- Highway ramps
How to avoid head-on collisions
All accidents can be avoided by driving cautiously and obeying traffic laws. Here are a few ways to avoid a head-on collision.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Slow down and be extra alert in construction zones
- Always wear your prescription eyeglasses
- Do not drive when emotionally upset, fatigued or tired
- Obey directional road signs
- Obey the speed limit
- Follow the rules for passing another vehicle on a two-lane road
- Keep your vehicle properly maintained at all times including proper care of your tires
Please be safe out there. Follow the rules of the road, don’t speed, and don’t drive distractedly.
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