As Columbia car accident lawyers, we know that all kinds of collisions carry the potential for injury to motor vehicle occupants. However, head-on collisions can be particularly dangerous: in fact, even though they represent a mere two percent of all U.S. motor vehicle crashes, head-on collisions account for as many as 10% of fatal auto accidents.
Head-on collisions generally occur when one driver inadvertently crosses the centerline, or attempts to pass another vehicle on a two lane road. According to statistics from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System:
• 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on rural roads,
• 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on undivided two-lane roads, and
• 83 percent of two-lane undivided road crashes occur on rural roads.
• Of 7,430 vehicles involved in head-on crashes on two-lane, undivided roadway segments, only 4.2 percent involved a vehicle attempting to pass or overtake another vehicle.
• 23 percent of fatal head on crashes on two-lane, divided roads are related to failing to properly negotiate a curve.
The FARS data indicates that most head-on collisions result from "unintentional maneuvers" (for example, distracted driving, falling asleep at the wheel, or traveling too fast in a curve). Other contributing factors include driving under the influence and speeding. All too often, these accidents prove to be deadly, commonly resulting in serious, life threatening injuries. Victims may sustain traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, concussion, internal organ injuries, and even the loss of a limb. (Interestingly, whiplash is usually the result of being rear-ended, not of head-on collisions.) If you have been injured in a head-on collision, getting the proper medical treatment should always be your first priority - even if you think you're not hurt. Symptoms of certain kinds of head injuries may not appear for hours - or even days - following a crash.