Head-on collisions are the most dangerous type of car accident.
While they typically account for about only 2.0% of all crashes, they are responsible for 10.1% of all fatal crashes in the United States.
Eighty-three percent of head-on collisions occur on rural undivided roads, and can result in some of the worst injuries related to car accidents.
Typically, a head-on collision occurs when one vehicle crosses a centerline or median and crashes into an approaching vehicle.
Poor road conditions or faulty traffic signs and signals can contribute to these types of accidents.
Head-on collisions can also occur when a driver:
- Is traveling the wrong way in a lane of traffic,
- Is fatigued,
- Is speeding around curves and loses control,
- Is distracted or impaired,
- Passes incorrectly on a two-lane road,
- Fails to read or follow road signs.
Liability in Head-on Collisions
Determining liability in any accident lies in proving negligence.
Each driver has a duty of care to all other motorists on the road.
Every driver is obligated to follow the rules of the road and all local traffic laws.
When a motorist disregards the rules, drives recklessly, or otherwise jeopardizes the well-being of others, that driver has acted negligently.
In some situations, fault may not be so readily evident.
For instance, when external forces which are beyond a driver’s control factor into the accident.
Examples of this include:
- severe weather conditions,
- improperly functioning traffic signals,
- damaged or missing road signs, and
- poorly maintained roadways.
Common Injuries Sustained
Due to their abrupt nature, head-on collisions very often result in fatalities, and survivors can be left with devastating injuries.
Even at low speeds, these accidents can be catastrophic.
The trauma of a head-on collision can cause great anxiety and leave long-lasting emotional scars.
Belted drivers and passengers typically suffer chest and lower limb injuries.
Those not wearing seatbelts often suffer severe head and facial injuries and more damage to their chest and lower extremities including, the pelvis, legs and feet, or they may be thrown through the vehicle’s windshield.
Other injuries can include:
- Cuts, bruises, and scarring from loose items being thrown about in the vehicle,
- Facial injuries including broken bones in the eye sockets, chin, cheek, and jaw,
- Whiplash and other neck and shoulder injuries,
- Back and spinal cord injuries including herniated discs,
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI),
- Decapitations in extreme situations, or when airbags fail to deploy.