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What Steps Should I Take After a Rear-End Collision?

Rear-end collisions can range from minor fender-benders to serious crashes that cause major injuries and property damage. They are also the most frequent type of car accident reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is estimated that 30 to 40 percent of all motor vehicle accidents fall into this category, yet people involved in these accidents are often unsure what to after they happen.

What Should I Do Right After a Crash Happens?

It is not easy, but remaining calm after an accident is safer for everyone. The first course of action is to see if anyone is injured, including the drivers, passengers, and anyone else who may have been hurt. Then, emergency services should be called. If the police do not arrive, they should be immediately contacted. While waiting for emergency services, hazard lights should be turned on. Driving away from the scene is the wrong thing to do, since all states have hit-and-run laws. Breaking these laws could lead to hefty fines and jail time.

Anyone involved in the accident can also take photographs of the vehicles, skid marks, and other elements of the accident scene when it is safe to do so. The time of day, weather conditions, and any other factors that may have contributed to or resulted from the rear-end collision should also be duly noted. It is also important to exchange contact information and insurance details with the other drivers and to contact insurance providers. Injuries can show up later on. Arrange a timely medical evaluation and have the vehicle checked by an experienced mechanic. If something shows up after time has passed, making a claim may be much more difficult.

Does Aggressive Driving Cause Rear-End Collisions?

Most people know that tailgating is one of the main causes of rear-end collisions. Following another vehicle too closely is never advised, but drivers can be seen doing this all the time. Under Delaware’s aggressive driving law, passing on the shoulders of roads, failing to yield the right-of-way, passing stopped school buses, and unsafe lane changes are prohibited. Drivers who violate this law three times can face fines or up to 30 days in jail. Drivers are also required to attend driving or behavior modification courses. Second offenses within three days can cause drivers to have their licenses suspended.

What are Other Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions?

Even if a second vehicle is not tailgating, it can rear-end a car that suddenly stops without warning. Cars need enough time to stop, even if they are following at a safe distance; for example, if a driver had to slam on their brakes because a pedestrian crossed the street as traffic was approaching.

Distracted drivers cause countless car accidents, including people who are busy on phones or other devices. There are many other things that distract drivers too, such as fighting children in the backseat, eating, or daydreaming. Driving under the influence is also a factor in rear-end collisions, since the effects of alcohol and drugs can significantly impact response and reflex times.

What Injuries can Occur in Rear-End Car Crashes?

The image of a driver getting whiplash during a rear-end collision is a familiar one, but other serious injuries can occur during these accidents. If a driver or passenger hits the dashboard, this impact can break their knees or legs. When airbags deploy, this impact can break bones.

Whiplash is more common since rear-end collisions can make the head move suddenly and violently, which can lead to limited neck movement, pain, and stiffness. The neck’s soft tissue can also become torn or sprained and the attached ligaments and tendons can become injured. Those who experience back injuries in rear-end collisions may end up with upper and lower back problems, which may require back surgery, time out of work, and lengthy recovery times.

Although airbags provide some protection for drivers in rear-end collisions, it is still possible for them to hit their head during a crash. Slamming into seat backs or windows can lead to brain injuries. Like brain injuries, spinal cord injuries suffered in rear-end collisions have long-term effects. Car accident victims who suffer these traumas can have temporary or permanent disabilities, such as paralysis, decreased brain function, or limited movement.

How can I Prevent a Rear-End Collision?

In many cases, a driver who is rear-ended could not have done anything to prevent the accident from happening. Defensive drivers understand the importance of preventing rear-end collisions and know that constant awareness and safe driving should be prioritized. Some ways to prevent an accident include the following:

Avoid Blind Spots: It is important to be aware of blind spots. Many modern vehicles have blind spot monitors and other safety features, but it is still important to be aware of other drivers. There is no guarantee that other drivers are paying attention, so avoiding their blind spots is best.

Avoid Aggressive Drivers: Aggressive drivers should be avoided. As soon as it is safe, switch into another lane.

Allow a Safe Stopping Distance: Driving with hazard lights on while approaching sudden slowdowns or stops can help alert other drivers to the impending situation. If another driver is approaching too fast, the only way to avoid a crash may be to pull over.

Avoid Inclement Weather: If the weather is bad, stopping distance should be increased. If possible, avoid driving at all.

Be Aware of Traffic Patterns: Another preventative measure is to be aware of upcoming traffic patterns. Drivers can look down the road to see if there are any traffic jams, reduced speed postings, upcoming merges, or traffic signals. Traffic lights and stop signs should be approached gradually.

Never Drive Distracted: Phones should be stowed away. If one has to use a navigation system, it should be turned on before the trip. Drivers who feel hungry or fatigued should pull over until they feel comfortable driving.

Maintain Car: Many rear-end collisions occur because of broken turn signals and taillights. If the following driver does not see the other car’s brake lights, they may not realize that that the other car has stopped. It is easy to see how this could cause an accident. Keeping the vehicle in proper working order is one of the easiest ways to prevent rear-end collisions.

If an accident does happen, contact a car accident lawyer who will examine the case and determine if the victim is eligible to file a personal injury suit.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Clients Injured in Rear-End Collisions

No one wants to end up in a rear-end collision. Unfortunately, rear-end accidents are common. If you were injured in an accident, one of our Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will fight to protect your rights. Our highly experienced lawyers are familiar with these types of crashes and will obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 302-888-1221. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.