Two Simple Rules to Avoiding Rear-End Collisions

Every personal injury lawyer, including the Auto Accident Lawyers Indianapolis, IN trust at Ward & Ward Law Firm, knows that rear-end collisions account for a disproportionate number of injuries and fatalities. Highway patrol officers repeatedly state that in most circumstances rear-end collisions are the reason for highway fatalities and are triggered by vehicles following too closely. Striking vehicles that are heavier than the lead vehicle such as single-unit trucks and tractor trailers, traveling at a high rate of speed are the main cause of highway fatalities.

The size and the velocity of the striking vehicle are the primary determinants of the extent and severity of the injuries received by lead vehicle occupants. Often, those who occupy the striking vehicle also become injured victims in a chain reaction when trailing cars and heavy vehicles tailgate at excessive speeds, hindering their ability to bring their own vehicles to a sudden and controlled stop.

Transportation agencies issue recommendations to reduce the severity and numbers of rear-end collisions. Here are two such formulas:

1. Automobiles traveling at or below the posted speed limit should keep a distance of one car length for every ten miles per hour in speed. For example: a light weight vehicle, i.e. car, traveling 60 mph should stay at least 6 car lengths behind to maintain a reasonably safe driving distance. Excessive speeding nullifies this formula.

2. Large trucks or semi tractor-trailers should follow what is known as the Six-Second Rule. Mark the car in front of you to a landmark on the freeway. Count to six (1001, 1002, 1003…) At least six seconds should have passed by the time you reach the landmark. When road conditions are wet, an additional 2 seconds should be added.

Under optimum driving conditions, if a 65-foot semi-truck (tractor and trailer combined) is following you while driving at a speed of 60 miles per hour, the truck driver should maintain a distance of 660 feet or slightly less than the length of two football fields. Braking distances can be affected by road conditions, wet pavement, wind, snow, ice and debris which has spilled onto the road surface. If you have an uncomfortable sense that you are being followed too closely, the safest thing for you to do may be to check a parallel lane for an opening, and move safely but confidently into that lane to allow the tailgating vehicle to pass you.

Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Your personal injury lawyer knows the law and the tactics regularly used by defense attorneys to put the fault on you, the injured person. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident because a tailgating driver was following too closely for speed and road conditions, contact an experienced plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer. Do not try to negotiate on your own behalf.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into auto accidents and rear-end collisions.