Car accidents can take one or more of several dozen forms. They may be single car collisions or involve dozens of vehicles, depending on the impacts involved. Some are considered minor fender-benders where everyone involved can walk away uninjured while others turn tragic as one or more people lose their lives.
Among all the common types of car accidents, though, one happens more often than the rest. A rear-end car accident has been and continues to be the most common form of crash that happens in Arizona and the Phoenix area is far from immune from these incidents.
A rear-end accident happens when the front end of one vehicle crashes into the rear end of the vehicle in front of the first. It can happen on any type of road and in any conditions but areas prone to stop-and-go traffic and the areas immediately before stop lights and stop signs tend to see a high number of rear-end crashes.
Following a rear-end accident, police or local authorities are often called to do an investigation and to review the facts of the crash. Typically, fault is placed on the striking driving, or the driver in the rear whose vehicle collided with the car in front of it. Often, distraction and speed play a role as these factors can limit a driver’s ability to respond to changing conditions in a timely manner.
Rear-end crashes are so common that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that they account for 23-30 percent of all accidents in the nation in a given year. Despite their prevalence and the relative ease with which they can be avoided, few motorists are believed to be taking the steps they need to ensure that they are as safe as possible while driving without taking on the unnecessary risk of striking another vehicle.
Experts agree that making a few minor adjustments to your normal driving habits can make a big difference in the risks you face for a rear-end impact. First, if you drive in areas with heavy traffic, make sure you increase the distance between your vehicle and any vehicle in front of you. Heavy traffic is synonymous with problems in the Phoenix area and can turn from flowing traffic to stop-and-go without warning. If you have extra space between your vehicle and others, you will have more time to slow or stop your car without causing an accident.
Second, decrease the speed at which you drive, especially in areas with higher posted speed limits. It is common knowledge that it will take you longer to stop a car that is traveling fast than it will to stop a car traveling slow. In fact, new drivers continue to be taught that they should increase the space, or car lengths, between their vehicle and the one in front of them as their speed increases. However, when a driver is in a hurry to make it to their destination or who finds themselves impatient behind the wheel may begin to rush and may close a gap too quickly. If you slow your speed modestly, you will increase the space around your car, increase your following distance, and give yourself a better chance to react appropriately to changing conditions.
Finally, if you are approaching a stop sign or red light where you will be stopping, leave some space between your car and the one in front of you. That way, if the vehicle behind you fails to stop, your car may be hit but you will not sustain a secondary impact as your car will not collide with the vehicle in front of it. This can also help to secure your position as the innocent victim of a collision and not as someone who may bear partial responsibility for the damages that resulted.
Know that if you are affected by the actions of another driver and you are hurt, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. Working with a personal injury attorney can help you understand whether you can proceed with your claim and, if so, who may be liable to you for your injuries.
Prior Blog Entry:
Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident? Know Your Rights, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 12, 2016.
NHTSA: 28% of crashes are rear-end collisions, by Calvin, SafeBraking.com, published November 14, 2012.