Head-on collisions aren’t the most common types of car accidents today, but they’re one of the more serious types of collisions. These collisions typically occur when one driver swerves across the yellow center line and collides into oncoming traffic. In other cases, drivers may turn onto a one-way street in the wrong direction before realizing their mistake. Drivers may also collide with stationary objects, such as a guard rail or telephone pole, and the effects can be just as severe.
If you’ve been involved in a head-on collision, either as a driver or as a passenger, it’s important to know that you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At The Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, our Denver injury attorneys believe it’s important for drivers to know the facts about head-on collisions and the possible consequences of these accidents.
Head-On Collisions: The Stats and Facts
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) defines head-on collisions as accidents involving “vehicles traveling the wrong way on high-speed divided highways,” especially occurring on highways and on access ramps. These types of accidents only account for about 3% of all car accidents on high-speed divided-lane highways, but they account for a disproportionate amount of fatalities and serious injuries.
According to the NTSB’s Wrong-Way Driving Special Investigative Report,
- There are about 260 fatal car crashes in the U.S. each year due to wrong-way driving.
- These crashes result in 360 lives lost, on average, per year.
- Data collected from 2004 to 2009 shows that alcohol impairment was a factor in around 60% of head-on collisions.
- Drivers between the ages of 20 to 29 were found to be most likely to be responsible for causing a head-on collision.
- Wrong-way collisions tend to occur when it is dark, suggesting that the lack of illuminated directional signs could play a factor in these crashes. Around 70% of all wrong-way collisions occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- The most common way that head-on collisions begin is when one driver enters a highway exit ramp. Other common mistakes include making a U-turn on a main road or using the emergency turnaround section dividing two highway lanes.
Because so many head-on collisions involve drivers who are intoxicated, and because the majority of these crashes occur on the highway at night, it is often difficult for law enforcement officials to collect accurate data. Intoxicated drivers may not have an accurate memory of what happened, pedestrian bystanders are less likely to be present, and other drivers are less likely to have witnessed the events as they unfolded.
The exact injuries resulting from head-on collisions depend on many different factors, including the vehicles that were involved and the speed at which both vehicles were driving. Older cars with fewer crash safety protections may not be able to protect drivers and passengers against the strong impacts of head-on collisions, and the driver and front seat passenger are typically more exposed than passengers in the middle and back sections of a vehicle.
Drivers and front seat passengers who are involved in a head-on collision may suffer serious back, chest, and leg injuries due to a sudden impact with the steering wheel and/or dashboard. Regardless of where a passenger is located in the car, he or she can suffer from many different injuries after a frontal collision.
Even low-impact collisions can result in injuries like bruising and whiplash, which is a serious injury to the head and/or neck caused by a sudden impact. More serious injuries may include broken bones, lacerations from broken glass, and injuries to the head, neck, and spine. Brain injuries, resulting in mild to severe brain damage, are very likely to occur.
The same vehicle safety features that protect drivers may also cause injury in many cases. A seatbelt, for example, is one of the best protections against car accident fatalities. However, seatbelts can also cause internal injuries and brush burns.
Denver Injury Attorneys for Head-On Collisions
If you’ve been the victim of a head-on collision, it’s important to know that you may be entitled to receive compensation. The car accident injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya have helped many accident victims in the Denver region pursue injury compensation claims. For more information about how we can assist you, contact our Denver, Colorado office today at (303) 758-4777 and ask about setting up a free consultation.