In 2012, 20,972 head-on crashes occurred within the state of Indiana according to Traffic Crash Facts. Of these accidents, 166 caused fatalities and 555 caused incapacitating injuries. Another 3,422 caused non-incapacitating injuries. Head-on crashes had a rate of 34.4 serious injuries per 1,000 collisions. This was a significantly higher rate of serious injuries compared with any other type of accident, other than car accidents in which a driver was run off the road.
Because head-on crashes are one of the crash types most likely to be deadly, it is important for motorists to understand where head-on collisions are most likely to occur. Motorists should also be aware of ways they can prevent head-on accidents.
Where are Head-On Crashes Most Likely to Occur?
Head-on crashes occur:
- When drivers are intoxicated and cross into opposing traffic.
- When drivers pass on the opposing side of the road in the lane meant for oncoming traffic.
- When drivers cross a double yellow line because they are distracted, because they fall asleep, or for any other reason.
- When drivers are involved in any type of accident and the force of the collision pushes their vehicle into the path of oncoming traffic, often causing a chain-reaction accident.
- When drivers go around a curve on the road too fast and stray into an opposing lane.
- When drivers get onto a highway exit ramp going the wrong way.
- When drivers get onto a highway entrance ramp going the wrong way.
- When drivers make it to the actual freeway going in the wrong direction. One study from Federal Highway Administration indicated the majority of wrong-way accidents resulting in head-on collisions actually happened on the main freeway.
While other are other reasons why head-on crashes occur, these reason are among the most common. Head-on crashes are thus most likely to occur on a freeway or near one; or when motorists are driving on country roads or two lane roads. Safety Transportation statistics showing 75 percent of head-on accidents occur in rural locations and 75 percent occur on undivided roads reaffirm the risks.
Drivers can protect themselves by making sure they do not cause head-on accidents. Staying in the center of your own lane, staying sober and alert, and avoiding speeding or other high-risk behavior is key to making sure you are not the cause of the crash.
Unfortunately, motorists cannot help it if another driver makes a careless error and causes a head-on accident. Avoiding all locations where head-on crashes are most likely to occur could be difficult or even impossible, as virtually every motorist needs to go on either a country road or a highway.
Motorists, therefore, must know how to react in case they actually get into a situation where another driver is headed directly towards them. Zenith suggests motorists in this situation should slow down, and be prepared to drive off the road if necessary and if it is reasonably safe to do so. It can often be less dangerous to drive your car off into a ditch than to drive your vehicle directly into another car which is coming forwards towards you.