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The Dynamics of Rear-End Collisions

January 09, 2013

Distracted drivers are responsible for a significant number of rear-end collisions. When a driver is texting on a cell phone or reviewing documents when approaching an intersection, a brief moment of distraction is sufficient for the driver to slam into a vehicle stopped at a red light.

A fatal car accident that resulted in the tragic death of a Buford man when his car collided with a stopped crane truck serves as a recent example.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the fatal crash occurred at a red light on the westbound ramp of the I-285 in Smyrna. The Cobb County police indicated that the driver collided with the crane truck while it was stopped for a red light. While there was no indication why the driver rear-ended the crane at the traffic signal, these types of collisions often occur because of distracted driving, speeding or drug and alcohol impairment.

Distracted Driving: If drivers avert their eyes from the roadway to text on a mobile phone or clean up a spilled beverage, this momentary lapse in attention can result in the vehicle crashing into another car because of an interruption in the flow of traffic or traffic signs or signals.

Impairment by Drugs or Alcohol: Because drivers that are intoxicated may take longer to identify a potential collision hazard or to respond to traffic that is not flowing. Rear-end collisions caused by drunken drivers are even more common at night. There also is a positive correlation between alcohol-impaired drivers and excessive speed. Anytime darkness, alcohol and speeding combine near intersections, rear-end collisions are a frequent outcome.

Speeding: When drivers travel down the freeway or approach an intersection at high rates of speed, they may be unprepared to stop in time to avoid a crash. Caution is particularly imperative when vehicles approach intersections because of traffic controls, pedestrians and bicyclists.

There are multiple factors that determine the severity of one’s injuries in a rear-ender including:

Occupant’s Vehicle Position: The severity of one’s injuries typically will be more severe if the person occupies the vehicle that is not moving. Because the other vehicle approaches from the rear, vehicle occupants in the stopped vehicle have no warning to brace for impact.

Relative Weight and Size: If either vehicle is substantially larger and heavier than the other vehicle, the lighter vehicle generally will absorb the greater force from the impact. This is a reason those who suffer the most devastating injuries in tractor-trailer collisions are the occupants of the other vehicle in almost every case.

Seat Belt Use: A vehicle occupant who fails to wear a seat belt may be thrown against a hard surface in the interior of the vehicle or ejected from the vehicle. Vehicle ejection collisions are among the most deadly of all auto accidents.

If you or someone close to you is injured or a loved one dies in a car accident, you should contact our Atlanta accident attorneys for a free consulation to discuss your legal rights and what steps are necessary to protect those rights. Montlick and Associates is available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.