Kentucky Head-on Vehicle Accident LawyerHead-on Collisions Can Happen When You Least Expect It
Head-on collisions are one of the most deadly types of vehicle accidents on Kentucky’s roads. These accidents frequently result in deaths, and often those who survive suffer catastrophic, life-changing injuries. These accidents are also more common in rural areas.
Statistics show there are many reasons for this type of accident to occur. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, their analysis of National Highway Transportation Safety Administration statistics show the following:
- In 1999, 18% of non-intersection fatal crashes occurred when two vehicles collided head-on. That percentage was the same for 1997 and 1998.
- 75% of head-on crashes occur on rural roads.
- 83% percent of two-lane undivided road crashes occur on rural roads.
The numbers might suggest that many of these accidents occurred due to failed attempts at passing another vehicle, but that is not true of most fatal, head-on collisions.
- Of the 7,430 vehicles involved in head-on accidents on two-lane, undivided roads, 4.2% involved a vehicle “passing or overtaking another vehicle” based on 1999 data. On rural roads it was 4.3%.
- About 91% of vehicles involved in fatal head-on crashes on two-lane, divided roadways were “going straight” (68% of head-on fatalities) or “negotiating a curve” (23%).
Highway constructions zones are not common areas for head-on collisions, according to statistics. In these areas, traffic patterns are often changed and opposing traffic may be much closer or vehicles going both ways may need to alternate on a single lane. In 1999, 1.9% of non-intersection head-on crashes (90 of 4,713) occurred in construction zones.
Drivers with these kinds of impairments may end up in the on-coming lane of travel because they overcorrect a mistake made while in the proper lane. Or they may find themselves in the oncoming lane, overcorrect back into the proper lane and collide with another vehicle or object.
For those injured in an accident, the type and severity of the injury depend on a number of factors. All vehicle accidents are unique. With a head-on collision, the fronts of the vehicles may hit flush with each other or they may partially strike at an angle. Injuries caused by these accidents can vary depending on several variables, such as:
- The speed of the vehicles
- Whether the vehicles were equipped with properly functioning air bags
- Whether the occupants were wearing seatbelts.
Researchers at Monash University’s Accident Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia, are working with government departments, car companies, insurers and others to collect information about vehicle accidents in that country that resulted in serious injuries to drivers and passengers, according to Geared. After looking at more than 390 accidents in fine detail, they found the following about those involved in head-on accidents:
- Drivers and passengers using seat belts normally suffered chest and lower limb injuries.
- Occupants without seatbelts often suffered severe head and facial injuries and more severe damage to their chest and lower extremities (including the pelvis, legs and feet).
- Severely injured crash victims often hit the steering wheel and dashboard. Injuries were far worse for those not wearing seatbelts.
Neck injuries are the most common disabling injuries suffered by car occupants in traffic accidents. Almost a third of all neck injuries occur in frontal impacts, according to the journal Accident, Analysis and Prevention. They can range from mild sprains and whiplash to severe injuries where the neck is broken and the spinal cord cut or severed, resulting in paraplegia or death.
Based on federal vehicle crash data covering 1993 to 1998, researchers who authored a paper published by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine found:
- 129,269 abdominal injuries were sustained in front and side impacts.
- About half of these injuries occurred due to frontal crashes.
- Spleen, liver, kidney and digestive system trauma was most frequent.
Head-on collisions can happen when you least expect it, which is why drivers need to be alert to others travelling the wrong way. Drivers should never get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or be too tired to safely operate their vehicles, because anyone driving under these conditions could be the one heading straight toward another vehicle.
If you or a family member has been injured in a head-on vehicle accident in Kentucky, you can rely on the Julie Butcher Law Office, which has extensive experience handling the claims of those injured in commercial motor vehicle accidents. Call us at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form so we can talk about the circumstances of your case and how we might help your family obtain justice.