Do you what the most common type of car accident is here in the United States? It’s a rear-end collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these type of accidents comprise almost one-third of all collisions.
While these type of accidents are typically not as deadly to vehicle occupants as a T-bone or a head-on collision, they still have the potential to cause significant property damage and injuries. Below are four suggestions for avoiding a rear-end collision.
Back off that bumper
If you are tailgating the car ahead of you and the driver has to stop suddenly — or brake-checks you — you won’t have sufficient time or distance to stop and avoid a collision. The National Transportation Safety Board found that just a single extra second could be enough time to avoid 90% of the rear-end collisions that occur.
Be proactive about safety and leave plenty of room between your front bumper and the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead of you. The three-second rule is generally sufficient.
But add space when conditions dictate
If you are on a particularly dangerous road, or if the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse, you will need to increase your following distance. For instance, just after the rain starts, the roads become slippery very quickly due to the combination of oil by-products breaking down and mixing with the water. Cars can hydroplane and be unable to stop in time to avoid colliding with the vehicles ahead.
Even traveling on very dark roads can be dangerous because it is difficult to see any hazards in front of you on the highway. Slowing down and allowing more space between you and the next car is a good idea.
Be aware of the surroundings
Scan the road ahead as your drive down the highway. Did a truck just lose part of its cargo up ahead? You’re going to be able to see that and make a quick lane change or begin braking to avoid the hazard. Also, watch for broken-down vehicles in the travel lanes or stopped traffic up ahead.
Always use your mirrors when driving, but realize that when a car, motorcycle or truck enters one of your blind spots, you will not be able to see it.
Signaling turns and lane changes and not making sudden moves lets drivers anticipate your movements. That keeps everyone safer on the road. But since there will always be erratic drivers on the road, make sure that you allow a cushion of space around your vehicle.
What to do if you get into a rear-end collision
If another driver runs into the rear of your car or truck, you can hold them liable for both your property damage and personal injuries.