During my commutes to and from work every day, it never fails to amaze me just how many people drive in ways that could all too quickly end up in a rear-end car crash situation. As a personal injury lawyer, we see how people’s lives can change for the worse in one split second, just because they became a victim of a rear-end crash or other car injury.
Rear-end crashes make up almost half of the car accidents in the U.S.
According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions. Drivers and passengers are at risk of being severely hurt due to rear-end accidents. No one knows this better than personal injury lawyers.
We have represented hundreds of clients who have been injured – sometimes seriously – as a result of rear-end collisions. One client, a mother, was simply driving home from work one afternoon, stopped in traffic when a distracted driver rear-ended her so hard she was ejected out of the car and killed.3
Then there’s the story of Tony who was also rear-ended. He had been “living the dream” before he lost everything as a result of a distracted driver rear-ending him at a high rate of speed. Read Tony’s story here.
10 Ways to Reduce Chances of Rear-End Crashes
The prevention of rear-end accidents is the responsibility of every driver every time they get behind the wheel. Here are ten tips drivers should remember to try to reduce the chances of a rear-end accident.
- Don’t tailgate.
We all know what tailgating is and we know we should not do it. Tailgating is reckless and dangerous. It is rude. And it can often be avoided. If you tailgate and leave too short of a stopping distance, there’s a very real chance you will end up hitting another car and you could be blamed for causing an accident.
- Check your mirrors often.
Look to see what the drivers behind you are doing and if they will be able to stop in time.
- Leave two to three car lengths between you and the car stopped ahead of you.
If someone from behind is going to crash into you, you may have enough room to push forward without rear-ending the car in front of you.
- Don’t stop short or cut people off.
When a driver slams on their brakes suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly changes lanes or pulls in front of another vehicle, cars around them may not have time to react. This can result in a rear-end accident. Try to always be aware of cars around you and try to anticipate their moves.
- Go the speed limit and try to maintain a steady speed.
Drivers who slow suddenly can cause a car following them to hit them. A driver who goes too fast also faces an increased chance of hitting another motorist who is in front of his vehicle. Faster speeds mean more momentum, which results in a longer stopping distance and makes rear-end crashes more likely. These types of accidents can also result in more serious injuries.
- Pay careful attention at all times.
All motorists need to pay careful attention to what is going on in front of them to avoid having to hit the brakes suddenly. Stay off cell phones and avoid using other distracting devices – even maps.
- Look a few cars ahead of you in anticipation of what may happen.
If you see cars braking up ahead it gives you more time to brake and allows the car behind you to begin braking (assuming they are paying attention). If you are behind a truck stay back until you can see the driver’s face in his side mirror. If you can see his face, he can see you. And stay out of the trucker’s blind spots. Truckers have a lot of them. Directly in front of the truck (because of the long hood). Directly behind the truck. And especially on the right side of the truck. Click here for more safety tips for driving near big-rigs.
- Check your brake lights periodically.
- If you are being tailgated don’t brake to try to get them to back off.
This can result in a rear-end situation and, depending on the driver’s demeanor, it could make them angry and lead to road rage. Simply try to move to another lane when safe to do so.
- Avoid drunk or drowsy driving.
Both drunk and drowsy driving can make it harder to pay attention to what is going on with other cars and can cause delayed reaction time, which makes rear-end accidents much more likely to occur. If you have been drinking call a sober ride home service. Many in North Carolina will take you and your car home. And if you become tired while driving, stop to rest for about 20 minutes. A recent AAA Foundation study found that one in five fatal auto accidents involved drowsy drivers. Click here for tips on what to do if you begin to feel drowsy while behind the wheel.
NC Car Crash Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation for Rear-End Crashes
3Client identities have been removed or changed to protect their privacy.