“Head-on” collisions are obviously among the worst of all auto accidents – the force of the combined speed of the vehicles produces devastating impact. These accidents typically occur when one driver crosses a center line on a two lane road with no median. More than 40,000 people die in traffic accidents every year and a disproportionate number happen in head-on collisions.
Tragically, this was the case in Clay County earlier this month when five adults were killed and two children were seriously injured. The two car accident happened on Florida 21 about 30 miles south of Jacksonville near Green Cove Springs when a Toyota Camry crossed a center line and hit a vehicle heading the opposite direction.
Both drivers died in the impact as well as three other adults. Two children survived the wreck but were reported to be in a critical condition. Four of the dead were in the Camry which crossed a center line and the other fatality was the lone occupant of the other car, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. A 4-year-old who was injured in the Camry was not in a child restraint, according to reports, while the 2-year-old was restrained, according to the Florida Highway Patrol’s report.
This tragedy illustrates the deadly nature of head-on collisions in which both drivers have little time to react. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, nearly one in five fatal auto accidents involve head-on collisions. Nearly three quarters of head-on crashes occur on undivided two lane rural roads.
Very few of these accidents were a result of risky passing maneuvers. Of 7,430 vehicles involved in head-on crashes on two-lane, undivided roadway segments in the study, a mere 4.2 percent involved a vehicle “passing or overtaking another vehicle.” Instead, most of these accidents resulted from one driver losing control of his or her car and crossing a center line.
Although it can be difficult to take evasive action in situations like this, there are some things drivers can do to protect themselves from head–on collisions. First, you should stay well centered in your lane, where oncoming traffic is less likely to stray, and where you can get to the shoulder or the opposite side of the road more quickly. On multi-lane highways, the right lane is always the safest lane. Divided interstates are safer than rural undivided roads. When taking trips, plan to drive in mornings and avoid night time driving when a higher percentage of impaired drivers are on the road. If a car veers into your lane, steer to the right to avoid impact. Always wear your seatbelt. As always, defensive driving is a must.
Head-on collisions are an all too common cause of serious injuries and wrongful death. If you have suffered losses because someone crossed a center line and struck your vehicle please contact our Jacksonville car accident law firm.