Contact Me Today 408-214-5555

Why Are Rear-End Accidents So Common And Dangerous?

Rear End Crashes Are The Most Common Auto Accident Which Can Cause Serious Injuries

33.33% Of All United States Auto Accidents Are Rear-Enders

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rear-end crashesare the most common crash type, around one third (33.33%) of total crashes in the United States.

33.12% Of All San Jose Auto Accidents Are Rear-Enders

I pulled the San Jose rear-end crash numbers for the period from 2015 to 2020.

Between 2015 and 2020, there were 10,678 crashes in San Jose.

Do you know which type topped the list? Rear-enders.

1 out of 3 San Jose crashes are rear-enders. That's 3,536 of the 10,678, or 33.12 %, which is right in line with the nationa numbers.

Rear-enders happen on the road and on the highway. They cause a significant portion of highway crashes, and injuries. When they happen out on the highway, they can occur at a high speed. This increases the chance that serious injuries or even death will occur.

Insurance Companies Downplay The Seriousness of Rear-End Crashes, Calling Them "Fender-Benders"

The fact that rear-end crashes are so common is a prime reson that insurance companies downplay these types of crashes as "no big deal".

The medical community takes rear-end accidents eriously because of the potential for a serious personal injury.

The legal community takes rear-enders just asseriously, for the same reasons.

AEB Technology Can Reduce Rear End Crashes Exists, But It Only Applies To Newer Cars

AEB (automatic emergency braking) systems help reduce crash severity, and can even prevent crashes.

How does AEB reduce crash severity and incidence?

AEB applies the brakes without the driver even having to, when it senses that the front end of the car is just about to hit another car.

How can AEB tell that a crash is about to happen?

AEB use cameras, lasers, and radar to warn the driver.

This means that many accidents, and therefore many injuries, are now preventable with AEB technology - so long as a driver has a pretty new car.

Here's a 2017-2019 NHTSA breakdown of each major auto manufacturer and their implementation of AEB.

New Vehicles With AEB 
Manufacturers and Percent Per Year 2017-2019

 

2017

2018

2019

JLR

0

0

0

Mitsubishi

3

6

5

FCA

6

10

10

GM

20

24

29

Porsche

0

8

38

Kia

11

13

59

Ford

1

6

65

Maserati

30

27

69

Hyundai

9

18

78

Mazda

24

61

80

BMW

28

49

84

Subaru

47

57

84

Honda

30

61

86

Nissan

14

78

86

VW

36

69

92

Toyota

56

90

92

Audi

73

87

99

Mercedes

96

96

99

Volvo

68

93

100

Tesla

100

100

100

What Happens To Your Body When Another Car Hits You From Behind?

When someone hits you from behind, the momentum from the speed of their auto gets transferred to your vehicle.

This suddenly pushes your car (and the bodies of everyone inside of it) forward. Bodies absorb that momentum.

Your neck is not really restrained by a seatbelt, so it can fly forward and then suddenly snap back.

After your vehicle stops moving, your body can snap back and crash against your seat.

What you're left with can be injuries that can affect any part of your body, from the top of your skull to the tips of your toes.

In a rear-end crash, your brain can hit the inside of your skull, even if your head itself never got hit. This can cause a traumatic brain injury.

Unless the person behind you brakes or honks, you will probably have no warning that the crash is going to happen.

No warning means no chance to brace yourself.

And, even if you brace yourself, that can make matters worse because the muscles can tense up and will not flex, making them more vulnerable.

Gripping the steering wheel can cause fractures, as can slamming on the brakes to try and avoid hitting what's in front of you, after you get hit.

What Are The Common Causes of Rear-end Collisions?

Distracted drivers are the top cause of rear-end collisions.

What Distractions Cause Rear-End Crashes?

Here in San Jose, it's not uncommon to see someone doing these things while driving:

  • texting
  • talking on the cell phone
  • looking at or listening to the GPS
  • putting on makeup
  • shaving
  • other grooming
  • eating
  • drinking
  • adjusting the radio
  • rubbernecking at construction or accidents
  • chatting with passengers
  • attending to kids in the car

A U.S. study using in-car video recorders, revealed that more than 75% of rear-end crashes involving a teen driver happened when the teen was paying attention to a phone, a passenger or something else other than the road.

What Road Factors Cause Rear-End Crashes?

Factors that increase the likelihood of rear-end collisions include things like:

  • higher traffic density (i.e. rush hour traffic; arterial roads),
  • the presence of an intersection
  • the presence of a right turning vehicle.

What Possible Behaviors May Have Caused A Rear End Accident?

Behaviors that causes rear-end accidents include:

Aggressive driving

  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Following too closely
  • Abruptly cutting off another vehicle
  • Cutting off another vehicle with very little room in between
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Slamming on your brakes

Failure to adjust to hazardous weather conditions

  • Snow and ice are hazardous road conditions; so is fog.
  • Heavy rain can obstruct the driver's vision.
  • Standing water can cause a vehicle to hydroplane.

Drunk or drugged driving

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol causes reaction times to slow.

This can increase the likelihood that a drunk or drugged driver will be unable to stop in time if the vehicle in front of them has to stop for traffic or hazards in the roadway.

Driver fatigue

Forcing yourself to wake up as you drive while dozing off can have fatal consquences.

I have handled cases where a driver got behind the wheel while fatigued and fell asleep at the wheel, colliding into another vehicle in the roadway, killing its occupants.

What Kind Of Injuries Can You Get From A Rear End Collision?

Some believe rear-end accidents are relatively minor - - but surprisingly severe injuries can result from this type of crash.

Many people involved in rear-end accidents suffer from the effects of the crash for months or years after it happens.

Below are a few examples of injuries caused by a rear-end crash.

Brain injuries from a rear-end accident

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Even if an airbag deploys, getting crashed into can cause a driver or passenger in a rear ended auto to hit their head. The airbag only protects you from hitting the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield.

But drivers and passengers alike can still hit their head on a window or the seat in which they are sitting. The mere severe jolt to the head can damage the brain - the head does not even need to hit anything.

A TBI can be anything from the mildest of concussions to an injury that results in a coma or even death.

An actual impact to the head is not required because a blow or jolt to the head or the body makes the head and brain quickly move back and forth. This sudden movement causes the brain to bounce around inside of the skull, making brain chemicals change. It can also sometime damage the cells of the brain.

Broken bones from a rear-end accident

A lot of different bones can break in a rear-ender. For example, if your car gets pushed into the car in front of you, the airbag will depoly.

The violent force of the airbag deployment can break bones in the face because it's the closest thing to the airbag, hands if your hands are on the wheel or you're trying to brace for the crash, or your arms if you are bracing for the crash.

The dashboard can also cause legs and and knees to fracture, if the legs or the knees hit the dashboard.

The hip bones can also break during a rear-ender.

If your car is catapulted forward, you may naturally slam on your brakes to try and prevent hitting the person in front of you.

This hard slamming motion can also fracture your ankle and foot bones.

Neck injuries from a rear-end accident

Whiplash is the injury most commonly associated with rear-end accidents, and it can be mild to severe.

Whiplash happens when the head suddenly moves backward and then forward. The main symptom of whiplash is pain in the neck and shoulders.

Back injuries from a rear-end accident

Back injuries from a rear-end accident can range from relatively minor to severe.

Did you know that whiplash can also involve your spine, and the pain can last for months? This is called “whiplash syndrome.”

Other back injuries caused by a rear-end crash include things like:

  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal fracture
  • Slipped disc
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Facet joint injury
  • Spinal stenosis

Spinal Injuries from a rear-end accident

In extreme rear-end crashes, the bones in the spine can crack or shatter. If any of those bones break away, they can actually slice right into the spinal cord.

Auto accidents constitute a significant amount of all spinal cord injuries. Any damage to the spinal cord can cause paralysis: partial or complete.

The brain and spinal cord are your body's central nervous system. The brain is the command center for your body, and the spinal cord is the pathway for messages sent by the brain to the body and from the body to the brain.
_____

If you have been rear-ended, please reach out to me.

My name is Renée Yvonne Gardner. I am the attorney at Gardner Law. I speak Spanish - hablo español.

I am an auto accident attorney. You can reach out to me at (408) 214-5555 or here: message me here.

Source for San Jose accident data: Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), Safe Transportation Research and Education CenterUniversity of California, Berkeley. 2021

Call Renée Today

I deliver personalized representation in serious personal Injury, wrongful death, death benefits, criminal defense, and post-conviction relief ("cleaning") cases. Please call (408) 214-5555 or fill out my contact form.

Menu