What Is the Death Rate of Head-On Accidents?

Published on Apr 30, 2024 at 6:22 pm in Car Accidents.

What Is the Death Rate of Head-On Accidents

Sideswipes and rear-end crashes have the possibility of being fatal. However, head-on collisions are the deadliest types of accidents on the road.

What is the death rate of head-on accidents in Kentucky and across the nation? In this blog, we’ll look at the fatality rate of these deadly crashes.

How Do Front-End Crashes Happen?

A head-on collision occurs when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions strike each other directly from the front. Due to the force of the impact, these accidents are some of the most serious, leaving behind severe injuries. Speed is a major contributor to fatalities, and deaths are common in these crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

In 2021, head-on collisions were responsible for nearly 11% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. Additional IIHS research shows that this type of crash caused an estimated 4,295 deaths and thousands more injuries throughout the year.

While those numbers are the national statistics, what about Kentucky statistics?

According to the 2021 Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts report, there were 806 total fatalities on the Commonwealth’s roadways. Of that number, 35.1% were the result of a head-on accident.

There are many scenarios that can lead to this type of incident. For example, a driver making a wrong turn on a one-way road could end up colliding head-on with other vehicles.

Let’s look at the other common causes of head-on collisions.

Causes of Head-On Collisions

Unfortunately, head-on collisions are often the result of the other driver’s actions. Due to their recklessness, they contributed to the death of another driver or a car’s passengers. Some of the most common causes of head-on accidents include:

Distracted Driving

One of the most dangerous behaviors is distracted driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around nine drivers are killed on the roads every day due to this behavior. When drivers do not pay attention to the road, they may miss traffic signals, road signs, and other vehicles. Drivers who text, talk on the phone, or otherwise become distracted may cross into opposing lanes and strike other automobiles head-on. Also, these drivers could collide with stationary objects like telephone poles or road barriers, which is considered a one-vehicle head-on collision.

Driving Under the Influence

When a driver operates a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that is referred to as DUI. These serious criminal offenses threaten the driver, passengers, and other road users. One person every 39 minutes dies due to drunk driving, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When a driver is intoxicated, they may behave in an unsafe manner. Often, these drivers will veer into the path of oncoming traffic, swerving or failing to obey traffic signals, which can lead to a head-on collision. The effects of a DUI crash often result in injury and death.

Fatigued Driving

Sometimes, drivers hit the road when they are not alert.  Someone who is tired or sleepy can lose their ability to concentrate and react. Many times, they will lose control of their vehicle, especially if they close their eyes or fall asleep behind the wheel. In these situations, the car can collide with other vehicles, leading to a front-end crash. Yawning, heavy eyelids, and difficulty focusing are some of the warning signs of fatigued driving. This type of driving is responsible for 684 deaths in 2021, according to the National Safety Council.

Improper Passing

When a driver attempts to pass another vehicle illegally, often by crossing a double yellow line, that is known as improper passing. This is another dangerous action that can put motorists at risk of a head-on collision with vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. Often, these types of accidents happen on two-lane roads. However, some impatient drivers may even swerve into the opposite flow of traffic to pass on three- or four-lane roads. Other drivers might not expect an oncoming vehicle to head towards them, leading to a collision with that automobile and others on the road.

Reckless Driving

While improper lane changes could be considered reckless driving, this type of behavior has its own category of behaviors that put others at risk.

Reckless driving involves a driver acting in a manner that disregards their safety and others on the road. Excessive speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring traffic signals and signs, tailgating, and failing to yield the right of way are a few examples of this dangerous driving. Any of these actions could lead to a head-on collision with other vehicles on the road.

In all of these cases, the accident directly resulted from driver behavior or error. If they had acted in a safe manner, then the death of the other driver or passengers would not have occurred. In these situations, the person’s loved ones have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice and compensation for their loss.

Losing someone to the reckless actions of another is never easy. If you would like to learn more about whether your loved one’s head-on accident can be shown to have caused their preventable death, Peterson Law Office can help. We can provide you with a complimentary consultation with a wrongful death attorney in Lexington, KY, so you can discuss any legal options available to your family.

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