The Top Reasons Why Rear-End Crashes Are the Most Frequent Type of Collision
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions account for the largest percentage of car accidents, responsible for one in every three crashes. That’s about two and half million fender benders every year. Studies show that the reasons for the prevalence of rear-end collisions are varied:
- Distracted driving – It seems like there’s some new form of distraction for drivers every month, something that takes their eyes off of the road in front of them, even if just for a minute. It may be a cell phone or other handheld device. It may be the dial on the car stereo. It may be a sandwich or a beverage being wolfed down on the way to a meeting, or it may be the kids fighting in the back seat of the car. Consider this—if you’re travelling only 30 miles per hour, it takes about 30 feet for your brain to process the need to stop and another 45 feet before you can come to a complete stop. On the highway, with a speed of 70 miles per hour, you’ll need more than the length of a football field to stop before hitting a vehicle that’s stalled in front of you. Of course, you can be distracted while looking at the road ahead of you, if your mental focus isn’t where it should be.
- Tailgating – It seems like everyone is in a hurry to get everywhere. Few drivers follow the admonition to give yourself a car length behind the vehicle in front of you for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling.
- Drinking and driving – It’s been scientifically documented that the consumption of alcoholic beverages slows down your response time. Alcohol can also compromise your judgment or cause you to miscalculate the distance between you and the car in front of you, or the amount of time you need to stop and avoid a rear-end collision.
- Abnormal weather conditions – When it’s been raining or snowing, your tires won’t respond the same way they do on dry pavement. In inclement weather (including foggy condition), you need to slow down and you need to increase the distance between you and the car in front of you.
- Construction zones – Many rear-end collisions happen along sections of roadway that are under repair, as motorists get both antsy and distracted. It’s hard to keep your focus on everything around you when nothing is moving.
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