A head-on car collision, also known as a frontal crash or a front impact accident, results from two vehicles crashing into each other while driving in opposite directions.
The impact of two heavy objects colliding at high speeds is incredibly violent, which is why frontal crashes are widely considered one of the most dangerous and frightening experiences that anyone can have.
While they only make up around two percent of car accidents, head-on collisions manage to cause over 10 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities.
Contact an experienced Brownsville car accident attorney at Kenny Perez Law today to assist with your claim.
How Do Head-On Car Collisions Happen?
While head-on car collisions are rare, it’s hard to understand why they happen at all. Roads have signs, traffic barriers, and lane markings that prevent a crash of two vehicles traveling from opposite directions. How can these safeguards fail enough to allow such a deadly situation?
The answer is that negligence and mistakes will almost always play a role before this type of accident. Head-on car collisions are more likely to happen while drivers negotiate a curve, speed past a slower vehicle, or travel down rural roads with narrow lanes.
Here are some of the main factors that make it possible for these tragic accidents to occur.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving means any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. Texting is one of the most egregious forms of distracted driving, but many other activities lead to accidents.
Eating food, talking to passengers, or attempting to grab an item from somewhere inside the car are all potential distractions that can cause drivers to drift into oncoming traffic in the opposite lane.
Most people realize that consuming alcohol, drugs or certain prescription medications can impair drivers to the point where they have very slow reaction times and drive recklessly. The same is also true for drivers who are sleep-deprived or overtired after working long shifts.
These drivers will perform just as badly while out on the road, but they may not even realize that they’re dangerously impaired. Even worse, drowsy drivers can fall asleep in the blink of an eye, leading to tragic consequences.
Poor Visibility or Confusion
Major errors made by a driver traveling down an unfamiliar road cause many head-on car collisions. This is especially a problem at night or during poor weather when it’s easier to miss important road markings.
Elderly or inexperienced drivers can get confused and enter highways through a ramp going towards the wrong side of the road. Drivers who don’t wear their prescription glasses or don’t have adequate headlights might travel the wrong way.
Why Are Head-On Car Collisions More Dangerous Than Other Accidents?
There’s no doubt a head-on car collision takes a heavy physical, emotional and financial toll. The trauma associated with this type of accident will usually be a lot worse than what victims might suffer during a rear-end or T-bone crash.
From a physics perspective, that’s because of the extreme magnitude of the forces involved when two cars collide. Each car will experience an abrupt deceleration that feels almost like hitting a brick wall. That kind of impact exerts a tremendous amount of energy on both vehicles, and on the passengers inside, which is what makes head-on car collisions so notorious for fatalities.
These accidents are even more catastrophic when a collision happens between a standard-sized passenger car and a much heavier vehicle, like a truck or a tractor-trailer.
Survivors of a head-on car collision can suffer grave, potentially life-altering injuries, even if they were wearing their seatbelts and the airbags deployed as they should.
Some of the common injuries people report after a frontal crash are:
Brain and Head Injuries
Head traumas and skull fractures happen when a victim smashes their head against the steering wheel, dashboard, or even the seat. It’s also possible for the force of the initial impact to jostle the brain and cause bleeding, even if there’s no external sign that the head was injured. Brain injuries can range from relatively minor, like a concussion, to the kinds of permanent disabilities that affect every single aspect of life.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
Serious car crashes will often cause terrible back injuries, including cracked vertebra and damaged spinal discs that lead to partial or total paralysis. The best-case scenario for a serious spinal cord injury is that the patient can recuperate after extensive physical rehab over several months, or even longer.
Injured Internal Organs
The human body cannot easily withstand the high-velocity impact of a head-on car collision. This extreme physical trauma will also affect internal organs like the heart, liver, spleen, and lungs. It’s also possible for fractured ribs to puncture and damage organs in the chest cavity, leading to internal bleeding.
This is one of the most common injuries suffered during a serious crash. The forceful, abrupt movement of the neck that happens at impact causes whiplash. After a major collision, the head will continue to move back and forth multiple times, which injures the neck and leads to a wide range of painful symptoms.
Whiplash will usually resolve within a few weeks, but it can also lead to complications like chronic neck pain.
Determining Liability After a Head-On Collision
Getting behind the wheel of a car comes with specific responsibilities, and exercising reasonable care to avoid an accident is truly the most important one. This duty includes following traffic rules, not driving when you’re too tired to stay alert, and keeping your vehicle maintained so that it can function safely.
A driver who fails this legal obligation and causes a head-on car collision is potentially liable for damages, especially for the staggering medical costs associated with surviving a serious crash.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help victims prove liability, negotiate with insurance companies and, if necessary, argue for their legal rights in court. In the case of a very complex accident where the question of fault is not immediately clear, your lawyer can also use an accident reconstructionist as an expert witness.
These skilled professionals base their testimony on physical evidence from the crash scene like skid marks and data from the onboard computers inside each vehicle.
Contact a Skilled Attorney Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident, you may have the right to receive significant financial compensation from the at-fault party or parties.
To learn more, contact an experienced car accident attorney today.