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Rear-end collisions account for a large percentage of road accidents in South Carolina. This type of accident occurs when one vehicle rams into the back of the car ahead of it. It’s a common accident, especially in intersections and where traffic congestion exists. It can actually become a worse situation when the collision occurs in traffic because it can easily cause a chain-reaction car accident where several cars collide into each other.
Some car manufacturers have placed advanced warning mechanisms that help reduce these accidents. However, there are still several cars on the road that do not have these advanced systems and the person behind the wheel ultimately determines how safely the car will be driven.
Common causes of rear-end collisions
In Charleston and other parts of the world, drivers are advised to give each other a safe distance while on the road. This distance provides room to safely stop their car when a motorist ahead suddenly stops. Following the safe distance, rule reduces the chances of getting into a rear-end accident.
However, some drivers are negligent of this safety measure and end up crashing into other vehicles. Some of the reasons that cause these rear-end collisions include:
As already pointed out, failure to keep a safe distance between motorists can lead to rear-end accidents. Tailgating a vehicle is a dangerous driving habit practiced by negligent drivers.
Driving at high speeds doesn’t give a driver the time to stop their car when a driver ahead of them stops suddenly. This can lead to a serious rear-end collision, possibly resulting in severe vehicular damage and serious injuries to the occupants.
III. Distracted driving
The law requires that a driver should avoid all distractions while driving. Some of the common distractions include talking on the phone, texting, eating, drinking, Facebook live while driving, live streaming while driving, or generally just not paying attention. Without complete focus on the road, the driver may miss sudden movements of other vehicles on the way, and that can cause collisions.
IV. Drunk driving
Drunk driving is one of the top causes of major accidents. Intoxicated drivers are mentally and physically impaired. They have slow reaction times while driving.
Drunkenness can also cause the driver to become drowsy, which can easily lead to a rear-end collision.
V. Exhausted Driving
There are cases when a driver becomes exhausted, but continues to drive. The effect that exhaustion has on the body is similar to drunk driving, and can also result in serious accidents.
VI. Adverse Weather Conditions
Under adverse conditions, auto collisions are common. This can include fogginess, heavy rain, icy roads, and others. It is advised that when weather conditions are poor, that you slow down and allow for more space between you and the car in front of you.
Tips on how to avoid rear-end collisions
You should ensure that you have your full attention on the road. Avoid any distractions like texting or taking phone calls. Doing so means you will be putting your life, and that of other road users, in danger.
You should always focus on what’s happening on the road. Watch the movements of other drivers in your lane so that you don’t collide with them if they make sudden stops. If you have to answer a phone call or reply to a message, you should pull over to do so. Many phones now have the setting to auto-reject calls while driving. If your phone does not have that setting, search for free apps that will auto-reject calls so you are not tempted to answer any calls that may come in.
As discussed above, failure to keep a safe distance from other motorists can lead to rear-end collisions. Ensure that there’s enough distance between your vehicle and the car ahead of you. This will allow you the time to also decelerate without colliding when they decelerate too.
- How far away should you be from the car in front of you?
In good weather conditions, a driver should stay at least 2 seconds behind the car in front of them. For every 10 mph you are driving, you should be one car length away from the car in front of you.
- How far away should you be from the car in front of you?
It is good practice to tap the brake pedal so that the driver behind you is aware that you’re stopping. This also gives them time to decelerate, so that they don’t crash into you. Proper braking should be a slow, controlled process where you car slows and slowly comes to a complete stop.
Utilize your blinkers
Your turn signals also play a crucial role in ensuring that you effectively communicate with other drivers. It helps them know what direction you’re going. This can help avoid collisions caused by confusion. Remember: You should signal the direction of your turn at least eight seconds before taking the actual turn. Using hand signals can add an extra measure of safety.
If you notice that a driver is following you too closely, change lanes, if you can, and let them pass you. If they don’t pass you, use defensive driving and maintain your composure. If you can, pull into a parking lot until they go ahead. If they are being aggressive and you are in fear of a road rage situation, call 9-1-1 or pull into a police station. If all else fails and they do end up hitting you you from behind, they’ll be the one statistically at fault.
Dangers Associated with Rear-End Collisions
It’s essential to point out that in some rear-end accidents, the damages may be minor. The people involved may not see the need for getting medical attention.
However, there are cases where the damage caused by a rear-end collision is significant for the car and the passengers. Here’s what you should know about body injuries and the damages that a rear-end collision can cause in the car.
Injuries from Rear-End Collisions
The most common neck injury experienced in a rear-end collision is whiplash. The violent shock of the crash can cause the head to whip forward and/or backward forcefully. This type of injury typically causes damage to the soft tissues around the neck.
If you suffer whiplash, you will experience pain and have limited head movement, which can cause a loss of range of motion. This can affect your ability to work, as well as everyday activities.
It’s important to understand that the back has some of the most delicate muscles, tissues, and joints. The back is also involved in all body movements. Therefore, any injury to it can have severe effects on the body. After a catastrophic accident, you may require back surgery to get you back on your feet.
The brain is the body’s most vital organ. It controls every bodily function.
Brain injuries are some of the most debilitating injuries that a person can sustain. They require intensive care for the healing process. In some cases, when the impact from a rear-end collision is violent, you may hit your head on objects, such as the window.
Additionally, the sudden and quick movement of the head can also cause injury to the brain. In most accidents, those involved will only get mild concussions. However, in some situations, a person can sustain serious traumatic brain injuries.
The spinal cord plays a crucial role in the body by facilitating movements, and also supporting all the sensory neurons in the body. Spinal cord tissue is quite delicate and can easily get damaged.
An injury to the spine can cause temporary immobility to the victim and in some cases, permanent paralysis. A large percentage of rear-end collision victims that suffer spinal cord injury become disabled for the rest of their lives.
During a rear-end collision, it’s possible to fracture bones, especially those around the hands, legs, and face. The impact from the dashboard can also cause bones around the knees to break.
Some broken bones can easily recover with proper treatment. However, some require extensive treatment and will leave you with permanent loss of motion and/or functionality.
Damages that can Occur to the Car
Trunk Lid Malfunction
A rear-end collision can cause damage to the trunk of your car, destroying its locking mechanism. As a result, the trunk may inadvertently pop open, even at low speeds. This can be dangerous because the lid can obstruct your rear-view mirror.
In some cases, it becomes impossible to close the trunk. This poses a risk if you leave the car unattended in a place you’re not familiar with.
Another issue is that trunk defects can significantly devalue your vehicle. This is an important consideration if you decide to sell it.
Most importantly, you should seek the services of an experienced body shop to have your trunk repaired after a collision.
A rear-end collision can cause damage to the shape of the trunk lid. This, in turn, causes openings that allow water to enter the trunk compartment. This can lead to water damage, as well as damage to items that you may be storing or transporting in your trunk.
Wheels out of Alignment
The impact of any car crash can damage the body and frame of the vehicle In some cases, this damage can cause your wheels to move out of alignment. The results can mean poor handling, excess wear and tear on the drive train, and even loss of control of the vehicle.
When your wheels are out of alignment, you may find yourself having to make over-adjustments to stay straight. Winding roads can become much more treacherous as you attempt to navigate curves. And attempts to swerve or dodge debris may not go as they should have.
The electrical system in a vehicle is comprised of a complex series of wiring harnesses. A sudden impact to the car can knock these wires loose, break harnessing components, or cause wires to break.
Damage to your electrical system causes unpredictable problems. What’s worse, the cost of having an auto mechanic troubleshoot the system can be significant. The process involves following every wire throughout the vehicle to its end. With hundreds of wires to choose from, this becomes very time-consuming.
Unfortunately, if the wiring isn’t repaired, it can cause damage to your car’s sound system, brakes, indicator lights, and more. It can also cause the battery to die prematurely, possibly leaving you stranded.
After a collision, you should make sure that you get your car’s wiring checked. Some simple tests can determine whether there is an issue. Find the issue is another story.
Damages to the Car Frame
Bumpers on cars are usually made out of light materials like plastic to cover the internal frame. When a rear-end accident causes damage to your bumper, it’s possible that the frame has been deformed, as well.
A damaged frame can lead to:
- Misalignment of the car’s warning system – a bent frame can knock sensors and cameras that help to enhance your safety while driving out of place.
- A twisted frame – minor damage may not be obvious at first. But a frame that’s been deformed can lead to ongoing problems with the car. In fact, a broken frame can be considered a factor in totaling a vehicle, even when minor damages occur.
- Weak frame – a weakened frame increases the chances of sustaining severe injuries in any additional collisions. You should always have the car frame checked any time you’re in an accident.
6 Steps to Follow After a Rear-end Collision
All call the authorities in Charleston immediately after a collision. The police will fill out an accident report, documenting the scene and damages. This report is important when seeking compensation for damages.
After any sort of car accident, it’s essential to take pictures of the scene. This includes pictures of both cars involved in the collision.
Be deliberate about thoroughly capturing every detail. Ensure that you have photos of the license plates of other cars, debris from the collision, and any damage to the interior of the vehicle.
Furthermore, if you or anyone in your vehicle was injured, take pictures of the injuries. This sort of evidence will help your attorney build your case.
Get the contact information of all parties involved, including any witnesses to the accident. You should collect names, driver license details, insurance contacts, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. The contact information is crucial in following up your claim and may be needed if the court requests for witnesses.
Once you have properly recorded the accident and contacted your attorney, you should immediately visit a health care facility for a checkup. Even if there are no apparent injuries, this is still important. Many injuries can show up days or weeks after an accident.
Without having a medical record to show the progression, the defendant can claim that those injuries happened somewhere else. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that insurance companies may deny you your claim if they find out that you delayed in getting medical attention.
At the hospital, you should tell the doctor that your injuries are from an accident. This gives an important context that allows the physician to give you the proper treatment.