According to recent data released by the Ontario Provincial Police, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and distracted driving are among the leading causes of fatal collisions in the province. Collisions in which the front ends of two vehicles strike one another directly can often lead to fatalities.
While some head-on collisions can be unavoidable, exercising a few safety precautions may help increase your chances of surviving a dangerous crash. These precautions include:
- Obeying the speed limit
- Keeping a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you
- Wearing a seatbelt properly
- Regularly inspecting your vehicles airbags, brakes, and tires
- Turning the steering wheel to avoid head-on impact, if possible
Sometimes, practicing safe driving and being alert behind the wheel can help motorists avoid a tragic accident. Properly obeying traffic laws at all times may reduce your chances of being involved in a serious collision.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Vehicle maintenance is an important component of passenger safety. Repairing or replacing damaged or run-down mechanical parts can help contribute to safe driving on the road. Automotive parts you may want to add to your routine maintenance checklist include:
- Front and rear brakes
- Windshield wipers
Even if your brakes and tires are in good working condition, they may not be enough to help you avoid a head-on collision altogether. That said, if these automotive parts are routinely maintained, they can provide you with better control of your vehicle, and increase its deceleration rate in the event of an unavoidable accident, which may lessen the impact of the crash.
Slow Down and Obey the Speed Limit
According to the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, high driving speeds can increase the chances of fatalities or catastrophic injuries as the result of head-on collisions. When it comes to these types of accidents, there is no established “safe speed,” but generally speaking, lower velocities increase drivers’ chances of surviving a head-on crash with another vehicle.
Penalties for speeding may include fines, demerit points, driver’s license suspension, vehicle impoundment, and possibly more. Drivers who cause injuries or fatalities as a result of their traffic law violation may face criminal charges.
Wear Your Seat Belt
Transport Canada reports that, on average, 26-29% of drivers and passengers that do not wear seat belts are killed in car accidents each year. Annually, between 10-20% of drivers who do not wear seat belts sustain severe injuries as the result of collisions.
In order to be effective, seatbelts must reach across a driver or passenger’s hips and fit snugly over their shoulder. A seatbelt should lay flat across a vehicle occupant’s body with no twists. Seatbelts positioned under arms or behind a person’s back can lead to serious injuries in a collision.
Keep a Safe Distance from the Vehicle in Front of You
The Official Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Driver’s Handbook recommends leaving a cushion of space between your vehicle and the vehicles around you. A safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you is at least two seconds. In hazardous driving conditions or when driving behind large commercial or transport vehicles, increasing your following distance may help avoid an accident.
By keeping a safe distance, drivers have time to react properly to sudden changes in road conditions that may affect the vehicle ahead of them, thereby increasing their chances of avoiding a collision.
Turn the Steering Wheel to Avoid a Direct Impact
Accidents can happen in a flash, and a driver’s first reaction to an imminent collision may be to hit their brakes, in hopes that the other driver moves out of the way in time. Taking evasive action instead, swerving to avoid making an impact with the oncoming driver, may help avoid injuries or fatalities in the resulting head-on collision.
As a general rule, drivers are more likely to survive an accident if they hit a stationary object, rather than an oncoming object moving at a similar speed. If a head-on collision is imminent, turning the wheel to avoid the oncoming driver while applying the brakes can shift the angle of impact, or help avoid impact altogether.
Steps to Take After Surviving a Head-On Collision
If you have been injured in a head-on collision caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and possibly more. The assistance of a head-on collision lawyer may help you in your pursuit of accountability and financial restitution.
To discuss the details of your accidents, call Preszler Injury Lawyers today at 1-800-JUSTICE to learn about your legal options in a free, initial consultation.