How to Survive a Head-on Collision

How to Survive a Head-on CollisionAlthough many car accidents can be avoided, there are some situations where a collision is unavoidable, even when a driver is employing defensive driving measures and all safety procedures. When drivers find themselves in these predicaments, their minds shift from trying to avoid a car accident to transitioning into survival mode.

All car accidents are dangerous, no matter their severity. However, one of the most fatal car accidents is a head-on collision. Although head-on collisions only make up about two percent of car accidents, they are responsible for over ten percent of driving fatalities. This is because of the increased amount of force that is sustained by both vehicles. The two cars are heading toward each other before the collision even happens. The speed at which both vehicles collide in the crash is equal to the combined speed of both cars. Even victims of head-on collision accidents who are fortunate to survive suffer from catastrophic injuries.

Luckily, there are things a driver can do to mitigate the risk of injury in a head-on crash.

What are some actions that drivers can take to reduce the impact of a head-on collision?

One way to reduce the risk of a head-on collision altogether is to keep proper driving distance between your vehicle and the one on front of you. Why does this help? Because it gives you room to maneuver in the event of a drive stopping short. Unsafe passing is a primary cause of head-on collisions, as is swerving into another lane to avoid a hazard. If you are far enough back, you can usually avoid doing either. If you cannot avoid it, turn your wheel to the right. Drivers have a greater chance of surviving a crash if they strike a stationary object instead of a vehicle that could be traveling at the same speed directly at them.

Maintaining proper vehicle maintenance is another way to contribute to safety on the road. Make sure your airbag sensors are still good, that your seat belt works, and that that your brakes are in top shape. You may not avoid the crash, but these things can protect you in the event of a collision.

Another way that drivers can take is to reduce their speed limit to at least 43 miles per hour. Experts have determined that vehicles traveling at 43 miles or lower speed have a greater chance of surviving a head-on collision. If a car is traveling at a faster rate than 43 miles per hour, the chances of that driver surviving a head-on collision are slimmer (for both drivers). Note, though, that if you try to hit your brakes while swerving, your tires could lose traction on the road, which can lead to a rollover or a multi-car collision.

What should survivors of head-on collisions do after the accident?

After experiencing a head-on collision, drivers and passengers will feel disoriented and traumatized. The next steps drivers should take involve pulling their vehicle over to a safe spot, if possible. Once the driver is out of the way of traffic, he or she must turn on their hazard lights. If the driver doesn’t feel safe to operate the vehicle, he or she should exit the vehicle and get to safety, if possible.

Next, call emergency services: the police and EMS. Head-on collisions can cause severe injury, and an ambulance should take the driver and/or passengers to the hospital for medical attention. When the police arrive, make sure to provide as much information as possible for the police report. The police report will document all details of what happened, what parties were involved, and all relevant information that insurance companies will need later.

In addition to filing the police report, drivers must remember to exchange insurance information with one another, if possible. Drivers and passengers will want to gather as much information as they possibly can about the accident. Because it is easy to forget simple details during a car accident, victims should make sure to gather the following information:

  • The date and time of the accident
  • The area that the accident occurred
  • Which direction the vehicles were traveling
  • The weather conditions on the day of the accident
  • Contact information for any witnesses
  • If there were any road hazards

If possible, all information should be written down and/or photographed, and any contact information of witnesses who saw the accident should be taken down as well. Once all information is collected, victims will want to contact their insurance company and inform them of the accident.

Then, it’s time to call a St. Louis car accident lawyer. You want someone who has experience handling car crash claims, in settlement negotiations and in trial. Your attorney will need your medical record, the police report, and any notes you made about your injuries and/or the crash.

What are some of the causes of head-on collisions?

Although many motor vehicle drivers try to avoid head-on collisions as much as possible, most head-on collisions are caused by driver error. Some of the actions that cause head-on collisions involve driving on the wrong side of the road, driving while under the influence, driving while tired, driving while distracted, and switching lanes unsafely.

Confusion also contributes to head-on collisions when drivers are traveling on one-way roadways. Inclement weather conditions such as slippery and snowy roads can also cause head-on collisions to occur.

What kind of injuries are caused by head-on collisions?

Victims of head-on collisions experience life-altering or permanent injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. These types of injuries occur because the human body cannot withstand the high-velocity impact from the collision. Another common type of injury caused by head-on collisions involves extreme physical trauma.

Extreme physical trauma can result in other injuries such as broken bones, severe abrasions and lacerations, and internal injuries. Depending on the collision’s severity, victims may find themselves in a position where they are trapped or pinned to the vehicle, resulting in crushed limbs and organs.

The most serious injuries from head-on collisions are fatal injuries. Family members should speak to an attorney about their options if their loved one died as a result of the head-on collision.

Injuries from head-on collisions can cause weeks, months, and even years of chronic pain. At The Hayden Law Firm, we help secure compensation for your losses, and we do not back down when fighting insurance companies. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We are based in St. Louis, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.