Head-On Car Crashes Can Cause Lifetime Pain

Trusted Content

Legally reviewed by:

Erik Abrahamson, J.D. February 22, 2018

More than 37,400 people lose their lives in car crashes in the United States each year. In Florida, 395,000 crashes result in 254,155 injuries and 3,176 fatalities each year.

High-speed head-on collisions account for 10 percent of car crash fatalities. Even minor to moderate collisions can cause injuries, some of which result in long-term chronic pain. The cost for all crash deaths, injuries, and property damage in 2016 was estimated at $432.5 billion.

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Florida leads the nation in all three reporting categories of fatal crash rate, most crashes, and most fatalities. US-1 in Florida has been the most fatal highway in the nation for the last ten years with 1,011 crashes and 1,079 fatalities just on this stretch of highway.

Crashes, where speed is a factor, have increased 4.0 percent and alcohol and drug-related causes increased 1.7 percent, however, speed, though deadly, is not the leading cause of head-on collisions. Here are the most common reasons for head-on collisions according to the latest research:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Driving While Fatigued
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Speed
  • Wrong Way Driving
  • Weather
  • Roadway Obstruction or Damage
head on car collisions

The majority of fatal head-on crashes are not related to loss of control on turns or curves but while driving straight. Drivers involved in head-on collisions were driving straight 91 percent of the time compared to not being able to negotiate a turn or curve 23 percent of the time. This was true on both rural and urban roadways.

165 fatalities occurred on the 132 mile stretch of Interstate 4 in Florida, connecting the cities of Tampa, Orlando, and Daytona Beach. This stretch of highway was named the deadliest road in the nation. Other dangerous Florida roads which made the list are I-92 in Four Corners and I-95 in Miami connecting to Jacksonville.

The high fatality rate for a moving head-on collision is a result of the extreme violence and force on the body due to the sudden impact. When two objects are moving at roughly the same speed and collide, there is no room for absorption of the impact, it is the same as hitting a brick wall at high speed; neither objects can be moved from their line of travel which would lessen the force of impact. If a moving vehicle hit a parked car, for instance, the parked car would move, absorbing the impact force of the crash.

What Happens To The Body In A Head-On Crash?

The faster the speed your vehicle is traveling the more likelihood of severe or fatal injuries. Bodies are not made for severe impact trauma and although our bodies are tough enough to sustain injuries and heal, the more violence involved in an impact the greater risk of disabling injury or death. Here are just some of the ways our bodies react to a head-on collision or other major car accident:

  • Your Internal Organs Keep Traveling
    Your internal organs will hit against your chest wall cavity and your skeleton. You have stopped on impact but your organs haven’t. They can become bruised, punctured or ruptured.
  • Your Spinal Cord And Ribs Might Snap
    Because the force of a head-on collision is extremely violent, your spinal column may be compressed, crushed, broken or severed.
  • Your Brain Slams Against Your Skull
    Our brains are not meant to be violently shaken or hammered. When your body stops moving in a crash, your brain will move from side to side and front to back inside your skull, causing it to hit against the skull. This can bruise, puncture or sever the stem. Your head will also hit the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield or side windows of the car as well as the back of your headrest, possibly more than once. Our Florida brain injury attorneys are here to help.
  • Your Bones Might Break
    As your body is battered with extreme force against the front, back and sides of all the hard objects in the car, you can experience the breaking of your ribs, feet, arms and, back. Even in low impact car accidents, people have sustained broken bones due to the sudden snapping motions when colliding.
  • You Can Receive Lacerations Or Deep Wounds
    You can be cut by the force of your seatbelt trying to keep your body from leaving through the windshield, and the force of your airbag against your face will feel like a brick wall. Whatever is in the car will continue to keep moving, just like you, and can cut or puncture your skin, reaching vital organs. The glass from the windshield bursting may also cause lacerations.

There are so many ways our bodies can be injured. Depending on the speed, and other factors involved, they can bounce back or be impaired for the remainder of our lives.

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Can You Prevent Car Crashes?

Whether it is a head-on collision or a rollover or side-impact crash, the ways to avoid them all are the same. The following are just a few tips that help remind us to stay vigilant and safe on the road, not only by driving safer ourselves but staying aware of other drivers who may appear reckless or aggressive:

  • Don’t Become Distracted In The Car
    The car is really for driving us from point a to point b. Avoid texting or other phone use in the car while driving, as well as eating, putting on make-up, changing radio dials frequently which take your eyes off the road.
  • Watch Your Speed
    Stay with the flow of traffic or at the speed limit. Slow drivers also cause accidents. Change your driving with the weather, and remember that when it’s raining or there is snow and ice, response times decrease significantly.
  • Do Not Drive Tired
    Driving while fatigued is a major cause of head-on and other type crashes. If you fall asleep at the wheel and come awake to find yourself drifting, you can overcorrect and place yourself into oncoming traffic. If you’re tired enough to sleep, pull over or don’t make that trip until you’ve had enough rest.
  • Pay Attention To Road Signs
    Suddenly discovering that you needed the exit ramp you just passed or that you are in the wrong lane to turn can mean that you make sudden movements causing drivers around you to adjust their movements to avoid a collision or which place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Keep Your Car Maintained
    If your tires are bald or your tail and head lights are not operable you are driving in hazardous conditions. Being able to stop properly or on time without causing an accident on tires that have no traction is almost impossible. Without properly working taillights, drivers behind you won’t know when you’re slowing down or have stopped.

If you have been involved in a head-on collision and have been injured, it may be in your best interest to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney. Our car accident lawyers in Florida understand the law and how insurance companies work, and they understand the implications even minor accidents can cause. Call our attorneys for a free, no-obligation case evaluation today – (800) 538-4878

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