Without question, of all the possible ways that an accident can happen, the one that drivers fear the most is a head-on collision. We’ve all seen the TV news videos of crash safety tests, where researchers repeatedly crash cars into a wall with a crash test dummy behind the wheel. Even at 35 mph, the car folds like an accordion. Shards of glass from the windshield and side windows shower the dummy in the driver’s seat. The wrecked car bounces backwards, spins, and sometimes turns over. The dummy is thrown around the driver compartment, notwithstanding the fact that the airbag deployed as intended.
Ph.D.s in physics have studied the forces involved in head-on crashes, in some cases hypothetically, translating data from test crashes into a stationary cement wall since it is not so easy to stage a head-on crash of cars traveling at highway speeds. Some of these researchers were trying to determine whether the force-energy transference was the same for a head-on crash between two cars each traveling at the same rate of speed and a car crashing head-on into a stationary wall. While their calculations and conclusions are way beyond the pay-grade of anybody other than a physicist, much less most drivers, the end-results were as expected—astounding and horrific. These force-energy calculations provide technical evidence of what appears in the crash-test videos. The potential consequences of head-on collisions between two cars traveling at high speed in opposite directions are terrifying. The chances of both parties involved being killed are significant.
Compared to other types of collisions such as rear-enders, side-impact crashes, T-bone crashes, or sideswipes, head-on collisions are rare. They constitute only 2 percent of all collisions. However, statistically, they are incredibly lethal. In December 2012, the National Transpiration Safety Board (NTSB) reported that between 2004 and 2009, there were 1,566 wrong-way fatal crashes in the United States. In those, 2,139 people tragically died, approximately 10% of all car accident fatalities. Thousands more drivers and passengers involved were seriously injured.
Why Head-on Collisions Happen
Head-on collisions can happen for any reason that any other crash can happen, typically driver error of some sort. This type of crash may also happen because of the driver made a mistake, such as driving on the wrong side of the road, or in the wrong direction on a one-way street, or attempting to pass on a two-lane roadway without adequate clearance. They may happen because of driver fatigue or confusion, or because the driver is distracted. Perhaps they can also happen because one of the drivers is impaired or drunk. Head-on collisions can also occur because of some defect in one of the cars, such as non-functioning headlights or brake failure.
Common Injuries Caused by Head-on Collisions
Regardless of the cause of the head-on car crash, drivers and passengers who survive a head-on crash often suffer serious injuries, including paralysis or some other serious spinal cord injury, head and brain trauma, multiple bone fractures, and serious cuts and bruises. Victims of head-on collisions frequently face astronomical bills for medical care, therapy, surgeries, and more. Often, they cannot work for significant periods of time or find themselves permanently disabled.
Georgia Drivers Are Particularly Vulnerable To Head-On Collisions
Given the number of rural roadways in Georgia, Georgia motorists are particularly vulnerable to head-on collisions. Statistics from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System released in 1999 indicated that
- 75% of head-on collisions occurred on rural roads
- 75% of head-on collisions happened on two-lane undivided roads
- 83% of collisions that happened on two-lane undivided roads were on rural roads.
According to two studies performed by the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Safety Information System, most head-on collisions happened when drivers tried to pass unsafely or tried to pass in no-passing zones. Georgia ranked 4th in U.S for the total number of fatalities on its roadways in 2016, and a significant number of those fatalities occurred on rural roadways.
Put Our Law Firm’s Over 39 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious automobile collision caused by the negligent driver, contact our attorneys at Montlick & Associates to learn about your legal rights and options as well as what steps are necessary to protect those rights. Hiring a competent car accident attorney can be a critical step to protecting yourself and possibly recovering compensation. The lawyers at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law can help. Our law firm has over 39 years of experience representing care accident victims across Georgia and in the Southeast. Contact us to schedule your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour-Live Online Chat.
Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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