A rear-end collision is when a vehicle following another vehicle fails to stop in time and collides with the car in front of it. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident. In fact, they happen every eight seconds in the United States, which adds up to a staggering 2.5 million rear-end collisions every year. Unfortunately, drivers and passengers in both vehicles can sustain serious injuries in this type of crash, and this is true even when the vehicles are traveling at a low speed. Injuries and property damage can be even more serious when multiple vehicles are involved, causing a domino effect with each car striking the car in front of it.
So what are the causes of these types of car accidents? Below we’ll discuss a few of the most common reasons why rear-end collisions occur, and how an Albuquerque accident lawyer such as the Dinelli Law Firm can help you hold the responsible party accountable.
Common causes of rear-end collisions
Tailgating, or following another car too closely, is the leading cause of rear-end collisions. The driver behind the leading vehicle is expected to react when the car ahead of them stops. Most police officers and insurance adjusters automatically assign fault to the driver in this position for that reason. However, some situations exist where fault clearly lies with the lead driver. These may include:
- Stopping short: Stopping short means that the driver slammed on his or her brakes for no reason and the car behind did not have enough time to stop to avoid a collision.
- Faulty brake lights or failure to signal a lane change: All drivers are responsible for making their intentions known to other drivers. When a brake light doesn’t come on indicating the driver intends to stop or the driver doesn’t signal that he or she intends to change lanes, tailing drivers may not have enough time to stop.
- Sudden lane changes: Most people have experienced being cut off by another driver — when someone pulls out in front of traffic so quickly that the cars behind don’t have enough time to respond.
Other common causes of rear-end collisions that are usually attributed to the driver who is following can include:
- Distracted driving: Using a cellphone, smoking, applying makeup, and changing the radio station are common actions that keep the driver’s eyes off the road and off the vehicle in front of him or her. It only takes a single moment of distraction to cause serious consequences.
- Speeding: A person who is driving too fast won’t be able to stop his or her car in enough time to avoid hitting the car in front if that driver stops suddenly.
- Weather: Poor weather conditions, including heavy rain, winds, and other types of severe weather can make it much more dangerous to be on the road. Drivers must slow down and give themselves enough stopping distance so they don’t hit the car in front of them due to slippery roads or other problems caused by severe weather.
- Faulty brakes: If a driver’s brakes fail, he or she can’t stop the car at all. This can happen due to improper maintenance, errors by repair technicians, and defects in design or manufacturing.
How an Albuquerque Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, it’s essential to determine fault as quickly as possible. That’s because some states will not allow you to collect any damages if you share any blame, while others will only allow you to sue for minimal damages. It’s also a good idea to retain a personal injury attorney at this time to help sort out who is at fault and to proceed with a lawsuit if you choose.
If you’re not sure what to do after you’ve been rear-ended, reach out to the Albuquerque car accident attorneys at the Dinelli Law Firm! Not only have we helped hundreds of New Mexicans fight to get the compensation they deserve, we offer the knowledgeable and compassionate support you need to navigate the aftermath of your auto accident. To learn more, schedule your free consultation with us today!