Rear-end collisions occur every day in Indianapolis, on busy city streets, in stop-and-go interstate traffic, in work zones or even on rural roads. While some rear-end accidents are simply fender benders resulting in minor damage and no reported injuries. Serious injuries and fatalities also may occur in these crashes if the vehicles are travelling at higher speeds.
In the event of a rear-end collision, drivers and passengers of the vehicles may suffer whiplash, neck and spine injuries, traumatic brain injuries, fractures, and soft-tissue injuries. Because the risk of injury and property damage is significant, it is important for drivers to be aware of the things they can do to prevent a rear-end collision.
How Rear-End Collisions Happen
Because the circumstances vary in each crash, no single factor is responsible for most rear-end collisions. However, some common factors that contribute to rear-end collisions include:
- Distracted driving – Driver distraction has become a significant problem on U.S. roadways. The prevalence of smart phones has caused an epidemic of distracted driving and contributed to thousands of severe accidents. A driver who is not focused on the road ahead may fail to notice when a vehicle in front has stopped, slowed, or merged into his or her lane. The result may be a rear-end collision.
- Speeding — The faster a car or truck is moving, the more distance the vehicle will need to come to a complete stop. Drivers who speed often fail to take into account the distance needed to stop safely. Many drivers fail to adjust their speed to take into account congested traffic conditions. The driver may be unable to stop a speeding vehicle in time to avoid slamming into the back end of the vehicle in front.
- Tailgating — If a driver is driving aggressively and following the car in front too closely, the aggressive driver is putting himself and the other vehicles nearby at risk of crash. Drivers who fails to leave the recommended three-to-four car lengths of distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them may be at higher risk of a rear-end crash.
- Failure to maintain tires and brakes — Tires that have worn tread have less grip on the road and hinder braking performance. Brakes that are worn or are out of adjustment also may prevent a driver from being able to stop in time to avoid a collision. It is critical that all drivers maintain their vehicles properly to avoid serious injury accidents like rear-end collisions.
- Failing to observe road conditions — All too often, drivers fail to consider the effect of road conditions when driving. When driving in the rain or on snowy or icy roads, drivers should take into account the slippery conditions and increased stopping distance needed to bring a vehicle to a complete stop. Traffic conditions play a significant factor in many rear-end collisions.
How Can I Avoid Being Rear-Ended on the Road?
Here are some helpful tactics that drivers can use to avoid a rear-end collision. Some of the tactics apply “social-engineering,” in which your actions behind the wheel send signals to the other drivers of how they should operate their vehicles safely on the road.
- Use “planned braking” – Observe traffic and traffic lights ahead of you and try to anticipate the need to stop. Start braking long before the vehicle in front of you brakes. This will ensure that you maintain plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. It will also signal to other drivers behind you that they need to start braking as well, long before you need to come to a complete stop.
- Identify escape routes – When you are coming to a stop at a stoplight or stop sign, make sure to observe your surroundings and note the paths you might take if you need to get out of the way of a vehicle coming up behind you. These routes may include the road shoulder, grassy median, or turning lanes.
- Leave plenty of space in front – Whenever you come to a stop, leave two-to-three car lengths of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you pull right up behind the car in front of you, you are leaving yourself little to no space to maneuver.
- Check your mirrors frequently – When slowing down or coming to a stop, you should be checking your mirrors every eight seconds. Pay attention to the behavior of the drivers around and behind you. If the driver behind you appears distracted or shows no signs of slowing down as you approach a stop, you should try to maneuver out of the way if possible.
- Do not rush up to stop signs or stoplights – If you race up to a stop sign or stoplight and immediately come to a complete stop, the chances are higher that the driver behind you will not have enough time to come to a full stop on their own. Practice caution when on the road. Start braking early, and help signal to other drivers that they should start braking as well.
- Do not try to shake tailgaters by braking suddenly – If a driver is riding your bumper, do not apply your brakes abruptly to try to teach the driver a lesson. This aggressive action is likely to lead to a rear-end accident or an incident of road rage. Instead, be patient, change lanes if necessary, or wait until the next available passing zone and simply let the driver pass.
Contact Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC for Help
While you may pride yourself on being a cautious driver, and you may employ all of the tips listed above to avoid rear-end collisions, the fact is that you cannot control the actions of other drivers, and accidents occur daily in Indianapolis and across the state of Indiana. When serious accidents occur, those individuals injured by other drivers’ carelessness or inattention often turn to the law firm that so many others have trusted to help: Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC. For more than 28 years, our team of experienced and compassionate injury attorneys has helped people just like you pursue full compensation after a rear-end collision. Schedule a free case consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team today.