Even though most people these days use seat belts and most cars have air bags installed, many people are still severely injured, or killed, in car accidents each year. In 2015 (the last year statistics are available) 35,092 people were killed in car crashes, and head-on collisions made up 54% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths. That is a huge number of fatalities due to one type of collision.
Studies have shown that certain types of injuries are much more likely to occur in a head-on collision. These injuries also tend to be the most severe.
In this article, we’ll explore what a head-on collision is, the injuries it can cause, and various ways to avoid this particular type of collision to keep you and your friends and family safer on the roads.
A head-on collision, or frontal collision, occurs when the front end of one vehicle makes contact with the front end of another vehicle, resulting in a crash. As you might imagine, it is these types of crashes that can easily result in death due to the speeds involved, and the position of the driver and front passenger within the vehicle. When two vehicles hit head-on, it’s as if the cars had each hit a wall. There is nothing available to soften or absorb the impact. For this reason, these types of crashes are usually the worst.
Injuries Due to Head-On Collision
There are several injuries that are quite common in this type of accident.
Car and truck companies have made vast improvements to safety features aimed at reducing the risk of injuries in a head-on collision, but there is still more work to be done.
There are several things you can do in order to avoid head-on collisions before they occur. The National Safety Council recommends remembering the “four Rs” when trying to avoid a frontal collision:
Now, let’s look at what each of those statements means in terms of avoiding a frontal collision.
Reading the Road - Scanning the road, cars, and environment up ahead of you, looking for signs that something is amiss with another driver. Also, look for animals that may dart out into the road.
Drive to the Right - If you consistently make a point of driving slightly to the right of center of your lane (on two-lane roads), you’ll be in a much better position to be seen earlier by oncoming traffic intending to pass another car, and you’ll also be closer to the right if something does go awry.
Reduce Your Speed - Stay on the lookout for hazards, and reduce your speed if you see anything, but avoid hitting your brakes if you don’t truly need to.
Ride Off the Road - Steer your car in a controlled manner to the right to avoid an oncoming vehicle. Be aware of the condition and width of the shoulder to avoid going into a ditch yourself. Riding off the road does not mean suddenly turning your wheel violently and causing a rollover.
When attempting to avoid a head-on collision, never steer your car to the left of the centerline or into oncoming traffic. Always steer right. Never jerk the wheel, as this will cause you to lose control of your own vehicle. If you must drive off the road, attempt to aim your vehicle at something soft, rather than something hard. Shrubs or banks would be soft. Concrete or a large tree would be hard. If you cannot avoid hitting something hard, try not to hit it completely head-on.
Of course, use your common sense when driving. Pay attention, wear your seat belts, don’t drive while distracted or under the influence, don’t speed, and always drive with your headlights on.