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Head-on Car Accidents

Few words are as terrifying as “head-on collision,” but 29.6% of all two-car accidents are head-on collisions, accounting for 5,800 car accident deaths in 2022. Damaging crash force occurs in all car accidents, but the crash force of a head-on collision doubles due to both vehicles’ forward direction and traveling speeds during impact. If both cars travel at 50 miles per hour when the head-on collision occurs, the crash force is the same as a vehicle hitting a motionless obstacle at 100 miles per hour.

Injuries in head-on car accidents can be catastrophic, ending in severe injuries or fatalities in both vehicles, particularly to front seat passengers.

What Are the Common Causes of Head-on Car Accidents?

Head-on collisions occur when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide, striking each other at the front ends of each vehicle. This type of accident occurs when one vehicle departs from its proper lane or travels in the wrong direction. Common causes of head-on collisions include the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Improper passing
  • Speeding around sharp curves
  • Entering a one-way street or divided highway in the wrong direction
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances
  • Slippery road conditions
  • Debris in the road

Although the term “head-on collision” typically refers to two-vehicle collisions, when the front of a vehicle collides with an obstacle it is also a head-on collision. The crash force in a head-on collision with an object is less than in two-car collisions but may still result in severe injury, particularly if the collision with the obstacle occurs at high speed.

Injuries in Head-on Car Collisions

Motorists in the driver’s and front passenger’s seats are at extreme risk of serious or catastrophic injuries in a head-on car accident. Common injuries include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neck injury
  • Back injury
  • Facial injury
  • Shoulder injury
  • Fractures
  • Thoracic injuries/internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries 

Studies show that the chances of surviving a head-on collision plummet if at least one vehicle in the crash is traveling at over 40 miles per hour when the accident occurs.

Who Is at Fault in a Head-On Collision?

The driver of the vehicle who crosses a yellow line into an oncoming traffic lane or enters a one-way street or divided highway in the wrong direction is the at-fault driver in a head-on car accident. A driver may still be at fault or partly at fault in slippery road conditions if they fail to take reasonable measures to adjust their speed to the road conditions. Less commonly, the manufacturer of a defective car part or a negligent road maintenance or city road-planning agency may be liable for damages if they created an unsafe driving environment.

Call an Accident Attorney After a Head-on Collision

If you survived a head-on collision, an Atlanta car accident attorney can help you recover compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If a close family member died in a head-on car accident, a head-on-collision wrongful death claim recovers additional compensation for loved ones left behind.

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