California Rear-End Car Collisions
Common Causes and Considerations of Rear-End Collision Accidents and Injuries
A rear-end collision is essentially a collision in which one car hits the back of another. The Washington Post stated how there is an average of 1.7 million rear-end collisions that occur in the United States every year. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 people are injured in a rear-end accident while 1,700 die. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 87 percent of these crashes are caused by distracted drivers. Furthermore, between 28 to 40 percent of all traffic accidents in the United States are from rear-end collisions. Lastly, rear-end accidents 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. It is estimated that 80 percent of rear-end collisions could be avoided if a collision avoidance system was used.
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. Injuries, from what at first seemed minor, may take days or even weeks before causing any adverse effects.
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?
- Always Follow at a Safe Distance: The 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 have 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.
- 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.
- Your Surroundings Demand Your Full Attention – You should:
- Check 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.
- Be an Obvious Driver – Don’t be that type of driver who stops suddenly or does not make any signals when changing directions. You must let everyone know your intentions. It is courteous and crucial to keep yourself, along with others around you, 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 [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.
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