two people arguing after a rear-end accident

What Causes Rear-End Collisions?

Understanding What Causes Rear-End Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car crash, accounting for one-third of all accidents according to the NHTSA. According to 2018 statistics, over 594,000 rear-end collision injuries, with over 2,400 being fatal. An additional 1.5 million resulted in property damage only.

But, why are rear-end crashes so common? In this blog post we lay out the primary causes of rear-end collisions and what you can do to avoid being involved in this type of crash. We also answer some frequently asked questions regarding rear-end accidents.

Tailgating Can Lead to Rear-End Collisions

Reaction times are a big reason for rear-end crashes. You need to give yourself enough time to react and avoid things that can weaken your reaction time.

A study by the University of Iowa conducted in the year 2000, found that the average reaction time to brake is about 2.3 seconds. If you are going highway speeds, that could easily be 200 or more feet before you can apply your brake. If you’re driving very aggressively and are only giving the car ahead a few feet, you have absolutely no way to react quickly enough to that car suddenly applying the brakes.

How to Avoid an Accident: Always try to stay about 3 seconds behind the car in front of you to give yourself adequate time to brake.

man and woman arguing after a rear-end accidentDriver Distraction Is a Primary Cause of Rear-End Accidents

While driving, we constantly have to make speed adjustments based on the car in front of us in order to stay a safe distance away. This is especially important when the car ahead slows to a complete stop. Distractions hurt our ability to account for these changes. Common driving distractions include:

  • Texting

  • Loud music

  • “Zoning-out” or letting your mind wander

  • Adjusting your GPS

  • Handling your pets and children

  • Talking to passengers

If any of these common distractions are present when you are driving, you are putting yourself at a greater risk of an accident.

How to Avoid an Accident: Do what you can to limit your distractions while driving, so you can limit your chance of a crash in the future. Put phones and other distractions away in your purse or in the glovebox so that they won't be a temptation.

Bad Weather Can Sometimes Lead to Rear-Ending Someone Else

In bad weather, it’s even more important to be mindful of safe driving. Hydroplaning and sliding on ice generally do not excuse you from fault in a rear-end crash. This is because you are accepting the responsibility to drive safely whenever you get behind the wheel.

Drive slower and give yourself even more time to brake than you normally would. Braking too suddenly in snow or wet weather can cause you to skid and hit the car in front of you. If you are in heavy fog or snow, be prepared for a car to appear suddenly out of the fog. Always be cautious in these conditions.

How to Avoid an Accident: The best way to avoid rear-end crashes is to be mindful and pay attention to the road at all times. Be especially cautious in unfavorable conditions and bad weather. Give yourself enough time to react to the cars ahead of you.

Rear-End Accident FAQ:

Q. Who is at fault in a rear-end collision?

In most cases the driver in the back is assumed to be at fault for rear-end accidents. This is because each driver is responsible for controlling their own vehicle, and stopping in time even if the car in front of them stops suddenly.

However, there are certain circumstances where this may not be the case. For example, if the car in front of you reversed into your vehicle, or if the driver in front of you was driving recklessly and making sudden unexpected lane changes. In some cases if the driver in front did not have working brake lights then they could be held responsible for the crash.

Q. What is the average settlement for a rear-end collision?

Just like any car accident claim, if you were injured in a crash that was caused by someone else you have the right to pursue compensation for medical expenses, missed work, pain and suffering, and more. Each settlement amount will vary depending on the extent of your injuries and the events leading up to the crash.

To get a better idea of what your case may be worth, you can speak to one of our injury lawyers in a free consultation.

Q. What injuries can you suffer in a rear-end collision?

Some of the most common rear-end collision injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Back or spinal cord injuries
  • Head or brain injuries
  • Wrist or arm injuries
  • Injuries caused by your seatbelt
  • Injuries caused by airbag deployment
  • Facial injuries or disfigurement

Injured in a rear-end accident? The team at Whiting Hagg Hagg Dorsey & Hagg is here to help get you the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one is ever involved in a car crash, our lawyers at Whiting Hagg & Dorsey, LLP can help you receive the settlement you deserve. Give us a call at (605) 519-6136 or fill out an online contact form.


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