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How can road safety reduce head-on collisions?


Drivers in West Virginia are aware that various types of dangers are present on the roadways all over the state and nation. While driver safety and following the rules of the road could help promote safety, this does not protect drivers from colliding with a negligent driver. Whether it is due to recklessness, distractions or intoxication, a negligent driver could easily be the cause of an automobile crash. Moreover, a negligent driver is more likely to lose control his or her vehicle, causing the vehicle to cross over the centerline and collide head-on with an oncoming vehicle.

How can road safety reduce head-on collisions? A study conducted by the Fatal Analysis Reporting System considers the statistics of head-on collisions. This not only helps establish the causes for these type of accidents, but also helps determine what programs and strategies could help reduce or prevent head-on crashes.

The study discovered that roughly 18 percent of non-intersection or non-junction fatal crashes involving two vehicles were head-on collisions. It was also found that 75 percent of head-on collisions happened on rural roads, roughly 75 percent of head-on crashes occurred on undivided two-lane roads and approximately 83 percent of accidents occurring on two-lane undivided roads were on rural roads.

What does this information suggest? This data suggests that many head-on collisions relate to failed passing maneuvers. In addition, it was determined that nearly all head-on collisions were passing related or occurred in a no-passing zone of the roadway. Moreover, the data collected found that 68 percent of head-on collisions involved vehicles traveling straight, while 23 percent involved vehicles negotiating a curve.

How does this impact road safety? This study allows for objective for programs to be highlighted. This includes implementing measures to keep vehicles from encroaching into the opposite lane of traffic, minimizing the chances of a car colliding head-on with an oncoming vehicle and reducing the severity of a head-on collision if one occurs. Ways to meet these objectives include installing centerline rumble strips, using alternating passing lanes and installing median barriers on multi-lane roads.

While the prevention of head-on collisions could be enhanced through programs and strategies, this does not prevent all occurrences. Those involved in a head-on collision should understand they might have rights and remedies available. If another driver is at fault, victims could file a personal injury suit, helping them recover compensation for expenses, losses and damages.

Source: Safety.transportation.org, "Head-on Collisions: Executive Summary," Accessed June 8, 2015

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