It has been reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration that there are more than six million auto accidents throughout the country every year. Slightly less than half of those are rear-end collisions caused by a number of common factors.
Road hazards such as weather, construction, potholes, and damaged or defective traffic signals are some of the most common contributors. Highway and city construction can present sudden obstacles or distractions. Construction flaggers directing traffic or warning of vehicles entering the roadway can create conditions that might startle some drivers, causing them to stop suddenly without warning to rearward drivers.
Traffic signals are constantly being repaired, replaced, or updated to keep up with changing traffic patterns. As a result, drivers may not know to stop at an inoperable signal, or how to treat a flashing red light during maintenance. These conditions lead to confusion and unexpected driver responses.
Weather conditions are often responsible for dangerous circumstances. Snow, ice, and rain can greatly reduce friction between the tires and the road, creating situations that even the most cautious drivers may not be aware of.
Many motorists don’t know that one of the most dangerous driving conditions occur during light rainfall at the beginning of a storm. When the first bit of precipitation falls on top of oil, grease, and other engine fluids, the separation of water and oil can create extremely slick roads. Part of the danger is that inexperienced drivers don’t notice a change in the appearance of the road and continue to drive normally.
Another road hazard that puts drivers in unexpected circumstances is obscured visibility at intersections or other cross-traffic locations. Poorly maintained trees and bushes, or crowded city intersections can create visibility issues that prevent careless drivers from seeing oncoming traffic. In some cases, a side collision in front of other drivers can lead to additional rear-end accidents as the intersection is suddenly blocked. In many cases, accidents that take place ahead of fast moving traffic can result in multiple rear-end collisions.
Inattentive drivers giving their attention to talking on their cell phones, texting, listening to loud music, or even interacting with passengers can create conditions for disaster. When these drivers are looking away as they approach stopped or slow-moving vehicles, they won’t even realize the danger until after the collision.
Drivers under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or over-the-counter and prescription medications have slowed reflexes. Often times these drivers can become drowsy and fall asleep at the wheel while traveling at high speeds. These conditions are especially dangerous, leading to one of the highest injury and fatality rates for vehicle-related incidents.
Common Injuries as a Result of Rear-End Collisions
The human body isn’t meant to come to a sudden stop from high speeds, especially while sitting inside a ton or more of steel. The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA sees a number of these injuries after rear-end car accidents in Clearwater and surrounding areas.
When the neck and spine are suddenly made to extend beyond their normal range of motion, many painful medical conditions arise. Whiplash as a result of vehicle impacts happens when the neck, shoulders, and spine are suddenly whipped past their limits like a cracking whip, known medically as hyperextension or hyperflexion.
Data collected by the National Safety Council show that an estimated 20 percent of rear-end collision victims suffer from whiplash. The majority of these victims, around 80 percent, suffer from soreness and pain around the injured area while more than half of them remain in pain for more than a year.
Spinal injuries occur when the impact of a crash causes compressing of the spine. Even at slower speeds, these types of injuries can happen, and their effects can last months, years, and even a lifetime.
It’s also common to see injuries to the extremities. In some cases the air bags in a vehicle may not deploy or may not even be equipped. It should come as no surprise that there are several cases of head and face injuries, from cuts, bruises and broken bones in the face to traumatic brain injuries which result when the head strikes objects in the car. Damage to the eyes often occur as well.
Rear-end accident victims’ arms and legs are also hurt when they are jerked out of place, slammed into the vehicle’s interior, or hyperextended simply by the rapid deceleration. The driver’s arms are often hurt as a result of holding the steering wheel, and passengers can be thrown into the dashboards or seatbacks, causing a range of painful leg injuries.
Automatic Braking Systems Decrease the Potential for Rear-End Car Accidents
Automatic braking systems sense rapidly approaching vehicles or objects. These systems were shown to reduce rear-end collisions by 40 percent, according to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In total, between 2010 and 2014, as measured by the study, cars with automatic braking systems would have prevented an estimated 700,000 accidents.
Vehicles equipped with front end collision warning systems alert drivers to impending crashes, but don’t actually engage the brakes. These systems were shown by studies to reduce rear-end collisions by 23 percent, still a noticeable difference.
Contact a Clearwater Rear-End Collision Attorney
At the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in Clearwater, Florida, our team of highly skilled rear-end collision attorneys can review your case and obtain the compensation to which you are entitled for your accident injuries as well as lost wages and other damages. Our rear-end collision lawyers have helped many victims obtain the recovery they deserve for their injuries and related losses. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375