Unless you are backing up or changing lanes, what is happening behind you as you drive may be an afterthought. Of course, you occasionally glance in your rearview mirror out of habit or when coming to a stop, but mostly your eyes are forward watching where you are going. When you do look back and see another vehicle racing toward you, it may fill you with dread. In many cases, there is little you can do to avoid a rear-end collision
Rear-end collisions can result in devastating injuries, and certain factors can increase the severity. For example, a vehicle that strikes you from behind at a high rate of speed while you are sitting still in traffic may push your car into the vehicle ahead of you, multiplying your injuries. In this same situation, a tractor-trailer can bring tragedy to your family. The sad fact is that rear-end collisions are almost always preventable.
Relying on other drivers
Newer technology in vehicles includes early warning systems that alert the driver of an impending collision. Some vehicles take safety one step further and automatically apply the brakes. Ideally, these features provide that extra second of warning that some studies agree can prevent 90% of rear-end collisions. However, without such advanced technology, a driver can take other precautions to avoid slamming into the back of your car, such as:
- Keeping a safe distance behind you, such as following the three-second rule many driving schools teach
- Allowing even more distance between vehicles when the weather is bad, such as during a Maryland winter storm, fog, glaring sun or rainstorm
- Anticipating frequent stops, such as when you are in a line of traffic behind a school bus or postal vehicle
- Keeping focused on driving instead of allowing distractions like cellphones, entertainment systems or GPS programs
- Paying attention to your brake lights and other signals that indicate you are changing your driving pattern
- Remaining alert to the surroundings, such as if you are traveling through a construction site or near an accident scene
Construction and accidents are prime opportunities for rear-end collisions. A driver who is going too fast or is too concerned with the activity on the road may not see you stopping. The results can include internal injuries, spinal cord injuries and fractured bones, among others. These injuries can alter the course of your life, and you have every right to seek advice and guidance about your options for pursuing compensation from the driver whose negligence caused the accident.