There are a seemingly endless number of distractions for drivers on today’s roads. From smartphones to tablets and in-car navigation systems, the last thing many drivers are concerned about is other drivers. As you can imagine, this is a recipe for disaster. There are approximately six million car accidents every single year in the United States, 1.5 million of which are rear-end collisions. Rear-end accidents are incredibly common and happen in the blink of an eye. When you aren’t giving your full, undivided attention to the road and those on it, the chance for an accident increases.
If you look around at other drivers next time you are cruising down a Texas highway, you will likely notice how close many drivers are to the car in front of them. This is called tailgating, and tailgating is extremely dangerous. Tailgating contributes to more than one-third of all car crashes. Rear-end accidents are often serious because of the speed of the cars involved. In many cases, this leads to whiplash injuries.
What is tailgating?
No, we aren’t talking about that fun parking lot party before a football game.
Tailgating is the act of driving too close to the vehicle in front of you. If at a given distance, the vehicle following cannot stop to avoid a collision, it is considered tailgating. According to studies, approximately one-third of all rear-end accidents are caused by tailgating. There are many reasons why tailgating can occur, both intentional and unintentional. Many people do not realize they are tailgating. They think they are following the rules of the road, only to find out they are too close to the car in front of them.
Others intentionally tailgate as a form of road rage, which is extremely dangerous. Regardless of the reason, it is extremely dangerous and can lead to a serious car accident with injuries. Teen drivers are often guilty of tailgating, which is why it is important to discuss smart driving tips with them regularly.
Today we are going to take a closer look at rear-end car accidents, including the most common causes, determining liability, injuries, and what steps you can take if you are involved in such a crash. If you have been involved in a rear-end accident in Laredo and are unsure what your rights are, please contact Green Law Firm today.
Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions are quite common here in Texas, as more and more people move to the Lone Star State. Our highways are busy and, unfortunately, this results in tailgating. In addition to tailgating, there are a handful of common causes of rear-end collisions, including:
- Distracted driving
- Congested traffic
- Sudden stops
- Road rage
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while tired
There are many different contributing factors to rear-end collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made substantial efforts to reduce the number of preventable collisions. However, we continue to see avoidable accidents take place. Rear-end collisions, even those that are low impact, can result in injuries that cause permanent disability. An estimated two million drivers are left with permanent injuries every single year because of a car collision.
A study published in the Transportation Research Center at Ohio State University revealed that one of the main reasons for rear-end accidents is a lack of awareness of how close we are to the car we are following. This is especially the case on the highway. If you are driving behind a car for some time, you become accustomed to their pace and the gap between your car and theirs. However, when our eyes drift or we lose focus, we don’t even consider the fact that the driver may hit their brakes. In the event they do hit their brakes, taking you off-guard, there’s a good chance you will run into the back of their vehicle.
Who is Liable?
If the driver following you is too close, not allowing for adequate time to stop before hitting your car, they are responsible for the accident. Determining liability in rear-end collisions is usually fairly straightforward.
Common Injuries Following Rear-End Accidents
All car accidents have the potential to result in serious or even fatal injuries. However, the majority of people involved in rear-end accidents suffer soft tissue injuries. Some of the most common injuries following a rear-end collision include:
- Whiplash – The most common injury following a rear-end accident, whiplash occurs when the neck is “whipped” back and forth violently or suddenly. Often, this causes a severe strain on the neck, shoulders, and spine.
- Back injuries – These types of injuries are quite common because of the sudden impact of a rear-end collision. The force of impact can lead to compression of the spinal discs and the spine itself. Many rear-end car accidents leave victimes with herniated or bulging discs.
- Face and head injuries – Rear-end accidents can cause damage to the driver of the car that caused the accident. When the airbags fail to deploy (which is common with low-impact rear-end accidents), there is a chance of the face smashing into the steering wheel.
- Seatbelt injuries – Seatbelts save lives, of course. However, seatbelts also cause injuries in rear-end collisions, slamming your body forward and stopping it with the safety straps. It is common to see individuals involved in rear-end accidents with bruises and other injuries to the shoulders, neck, and torso because of this.
Steps to Take Following a Rear-End Collision
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end car accident in Brownsville, you should make sure that you are okay first. Once you assess your injuries, all other drivers and passengers who were involved should be checked as well. Rear-end collisions can be surprising and often take people off guard. When this happens, our adrenaline often kicks in, masking any immediate injuries.
If you’ve experienced a rear-end accident, take these following steps:
- Seek medical attention
- Get to the side of the road or somewhere safe
- Call the police
- Exchange information with the other driver(s)
- Insurance policy
- Name, address, phone number
- Information about the vehicle they were driving
- Talk to any witnesses
- Contact a personal injury attorney
Rear-end car accidents are scary and can upturn your life. If you’ve been involved in an accident and would like to learn more about your rights, contact Green Law Firm and schedule a free consultation today. Whether you were at fault or the other driver was, we are here to help. To learn more about the type of compensation you can receive for your damages and medical bills, give us a call.