Murphy’s Law is sometimes the number one rule of the road. No matter how careful you are, a “dent collector” can appear out of nowhere and plow into your car. Head-on collisions account for more fatalities than any other type of car accident, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A frontal impact crash can be extremely violent, especially when the collision is squarely head-on.
In a collision, your car decelerates extremely rapidly while its structure absorbs the majority of the crash forces. Drivers and passengers who are not wearing seat belts continue to move forward at the vehicle’s original speed until the car’s interior (the steering wheel, instrument panel, windshield, etc.) stops their movement.
Belted occupants come to a more gradual stop by being secured to the vehicle’s structure.
According to Federal Highway Administration, 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on rural undivided twolane roads. If you are ever in the unfortunate circumstance where another vehicle is coming straight at you, reacting calmly but quickly can help you avoid disaster, or at least minimize the damage.
Taking a Turn for the Better
Turning may be your only chance to avoid a crash with an oncoming vehicle. If a collision looks probable, turn away from it even if it means leaving the road. Don’t lock your brakes by slamming on them — you want to drive, rather than skid off the road. If you can, aim toward empty space or something that will give way — like brush, shrubs or garbage cans. If you have to hit anything, try to make it a glancing blow. A sideswipe, for example, is better than a head-on collision.
• Blow your horn and flash your lights to warn the other driver, if you have time.
• Brake fast, but don’t lock your wheels and lose control.
• If the other driver keeps coming, and a collision is probable, steer off the road to the right shoulder or ditch. Don’t drive into the left lane.
Helping a Vehicle in Danger
If another vehicle is attempting to pass you but can’t complete the maneuver because of oncoming traffic, you must act quickly to help the other vehicle avoid a collision.
• If the passing vehicle continues to attempt to pass, you can help by slowing your vehicle and moving as far to the right as you can with safety.
• If the other driver definitely cannot complete the pass and must drop back, increase your speed so that he can move in behind you.
• If the right shoulder is safe, and a collision is almost certain, move quickly onto the shoulder to allow the passing car to move into your lane. In either of the above two situations, be certain of the intentions of the driver of the passing vehicle before you change your speed.
At CollisionMax we have seen the severe damage caused by head-on collisions. We ask that everyone follow these steps in the unfortunate case that you are faced with a possible head-on collsion.