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Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions

Factors that Contribute to Hitting another Car from Behind

Common Causes of Rear-End CollisionsAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about one in every three motor vehicle accidents in the United States involve one car striking another car from the rear. It’s the classic type of collision that leads to whiplash, where your head snaps back and forth, causing significant injury to your neck, as well as potential brain injury. Statistics indicate that there are a number of reasons why these accidents are so prevalent.

  • Violation of speed limit—A significant number of rear-enders occur when a motorist can’t stop in time because he or she is traveling too fast, traveling too close or both. A good rule of thumb is a car length per 10 miles an hour you’re traveling. If you going 50, you should stay at least five car lengths behind anyone in front of you.
  • Distracted driving—This may be the most common cause of accidents today—looking somewhere other than the road in front of you. It might be a handheld device, the radio dial, a child in the backseat or something along the roadside.
  • Fatigued driving—Fatigue slows down your reaction time. If you have to drive (after a long shift or a long day), take extra precaution and add some distance between you and other motorists.
  • Heavy traffic—When you’re in a traffic jam, you need to be hypersensitive to traffic around you.
  • Mechanical failure—If your brakes need work or you’re riding on old tires, you may not be able stop in time
  • Driving while intoxicated or impaired—Alcohol is a depressant, so it slows down your reaction time. One study found that, with a blood alcohol level of .08 (the legal limit in New Jersey), you’ll need an extra 12 feet to stop, if you’re traveling at 70 miles per hour.

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