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Considerations for Rear-End Collisions

Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer

Statistically speaking, rear-end crashes are the most common of all vehicle collisions in the United States. A rear-end collision is essentially a collision in which one car hits the back of another. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions account for almost a third of all car crashes throughout the country. These types of crashes, while rarely deadly, can still cause serious injuries and significant loss of property.

Rear-end crashes, while seemingly minor, often result in painful neck or back injuries. Injuries as a result of a rear end collision may not manifest themselves immediately, or in severe ways either. Often times, injuries from what at first seemed minor accidents may take days or even weeks before causing any adverse effects.

To quantify the effects of rear-end collisions in more tangible terms, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 6 million car crashes a year, and out of that total number, 40% are of the rear-end variety. Another fact that comes courtesy of the NHTSA further puts things into perspective: a rear-end collision happens about every 8 seconds in the United States.

Considerations and Causes for Rear End Collisions

The immediate tendency in a rear-end collision is to blame the striking vehicle, but that isn’t always the case. There are a few considerations to keep in mind when determining liability in these cases:

  • Did the stopping vehicle signal or brake as necessary?
  • Was anyone tailgating?
  • Was anyone engaged in reckless behaviors, such as inappropriate lane changes or speeding?
  • Were any drivers texting or talking on the phone?
  • Were all lane markings and traffic signs clear and visible?
  • Did poor weather conditions contribute to a lack of visibility?

In rear-end collisions, there is a chance the trailing driver will share partial liability, as all drivers have a duty to maintain a safe distance between themselves and the car in front of them. As a driver, you must allow enough space between you and the car in front of you, in case he or she needs to stop or slow down.

There are circumstances in which the driver who was hit may be held liable for the collision. In such cases, the driver who was hit could actually be found guilty of negligence. Below are a few examples of such negligence:

  • Malfunctioning brake lights – If a vehicle’s brake lights are broken or not working properly, a trailing driver may not have enough of a warning of that vehicle’s intent to stop.
  • Suddenly backing up – If a driver reverses suddenly without notice, they may be held liable for the collision.
  • Stopping for no apparent reason – A driver who stops for no apparent reason can be held liable for the collision.
  • Unsafe handling of car problems – All drivers who need to stop on the side of the road in order to address mechanical problems must do so safely by moving out of harm’s way and using hazard lights.

How Do I Avoid Rear-End Collisions?

  1. Always Follow at a Safe Distance

The simple and most effective thing to do is maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. This rule applies whether you’re driving on the freeway, around the block, or down a winding mountain road.

Below is an easy method to make sure you’re following the vehicle in front of you at a safe distance. If you can count to three, you got it covered.

  • Feel free to pick any object you see as a reference point. This can be anything, such as a traffic sign, a billboard, or an overpass.
  • Wait until the rear of the vehicle you’re following passes your object of choice, and then count: one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three.
  • If you’re still counting and already passed the object, you’re following too closely.
  • If you finish counting and you haven’t passed the object, you’re doing just fine.
  1. Increase Your Following Distance if Possible

Sometimes three seconds isn’t enough, especially when road conditions are particularly poor. According to the DMV, it’s recommendable to follow the four second rule in the following circumstances:

  • When Driving on Slippery Surfaces. Due to heavy rain or snow, roads can become slippery and increasingly dangerous.
  • Driving When Visibility is Poor. In general, it’s wise to increase your following distance after dark, but weather conditions such as fog, rain, or snow can significantly impair a driver’s visibility. Always keep your wiper blades in good condition, and be mindful of glare on sunny days.
  • When Being Tailgated. Sometimes you’re the one who’s being tailgated. Make sure to give yourself plenty of room in case you need to brake or stop suddenly.
  • When Trailing a Larger Vehicle. Give yourself extra space when a semi or large truck is blocking your view. Doing so will give you a better view of the road, and you’ll keep yourself out of a larger vehicle’s blind spots.
  • When Trailing a Vehicle That Stops Frequently. Garbage trucks, buses, and mail carriers all need extra space as they stop frequently and sometimes unexpectedly.
  1. Your Surroundings Demand Your Full Attention
  • Checking your mirrors frequently should become second nature. Always look in your mirrors if you’re planning on slowing for any reason.
  • Avoid remaining in another driver’s blind spot, and don’t drive directly next to any vehicles.
  • Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you anytime you need to stop. This gives you the ability to change lanes or pull over if necessary.
  1. Be an Obvious Driver

It’s very annoying when another driver changes lanes suddenly without signalling or just stops all of a sudden, isn’t it? Don’t be that driver. Let everyone else know about your intentions. It’s courteous and it’s crucial to staying safe. For example:

  • Don’t stop all of a sudden. It’s better to slow down gradually. Do this anytime you’re approaching traffic signals or making a turn.
  • Use your turn signals ahead of time, and not after you’ve already turned or made a lane change.
  • Make sure your vehicle lights are working properly.


Contact us to find out how we can help

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a rear-end collision, an attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 213 927 3700 or email to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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