When the average person reads of a “head-on” collision involving a crash between two cars, a motorcycle collision with a sport utility vehicle, or a wreck involving a commercial delivery truck and a minivan, the words are sometimes just that: words on a page. But for those victims of traffic-related accidents, the situation is all too real. Being caught in a sudden and violent head-on crash on almost any roadway is a serious incident, and not one from which everybody can walk away.
Of all the typical kinds of motor vehicle collisions, including rear-ending accidents, crashes where a vehicle is side-swiped by another, T-bone-type collisions at intersections, or interstate rollover wrecks, head-on collisions can be some of the most deadly. As personal injury attorneys and experienced trial lawyers, I and my legal staff have seen the aftermath of these extremely deadly and life-threatening events.
When it comes to a head-on automobile or commercial truck collision, these front-to-front impacts account for a large number of traffic fatalities on a percentage basis. That is to say, aside from rollover accidents, we have seen traffic accident statistics from past years that show head-on collisions resulting in 10 percent of deaths on the road, even though only two percent of the accidents were of the head-on type. Frankly, to have just two percent of accidents kill one in ten people, that is chilling.
Yet, head-on traffic wrecks often result in death due to the abrupt and violent nature of these impacts. When the human body is subjected to a near-instant cessation of forward motion, the body and its internal organs can experience severe trauma. Can you imagine hitting a solid brick wall at 120mph? Well, this is essentially what occurs when two cars of equal mass, each traveling at 60mph, hit each other from opposite directions. Quite simply, all forward motion stops almost instantaneously.
Some of the most common causes of head-on collisions involve a car heading the wrong way on an expressway or limited access highway (sometimes called a “wrong-way” crash); or a vehicle crossing over the centerline of a road and hitting another oncoming vehicle; passing without sufficient room or in a no-passing zone; even falling asleep behind the wheel as the vehicle drifts into the oncoming lane.
Based on traffic accident stats from across the country, head-on traffic wrecks are most likely to happen (more than 80 percent of the time) on undivided two-lane rural roadways; to a lesser extent, head-on can frequently occur in construction zones and via on- or off-ramps onto highways or expressways. What might be the greatest defense against becoming a victim of a head-on crash is to avoid distractions and always pay attention to traffic signage.
Yet, for all the safety warnings, we still read of accidents like the one in Rockville late last year. According to news accounts, a six-car traffic wreck that happened in Montgomery County along a stretch of Rockville Pike near Templeton Place last December injured seven different individuals ranging in age from 31 to 61 years of age. Based on police information at the time of the crash, the driver of a southbound Volkswagen was apparently the cause of the crash, when his vehicle drifted across the centerline of the roadway and struck multiple vehicles in the process.
One of the victims was transported to Baltimore Shock Trauma where he was listed in critical condition at the times of the news article. According to authorities, the pike was closed in both directions for several hours as police, rescue and clean-up crews worked to clear the wreck that fateful Friday.
Victims Identified In Multiple Car Accident In Rockville, Md.; WUSA9.com; December 30, 2012