When you hit the road in your car, safety should always be your primary objective. Many accidents are caused by negligent drivers and allow you no real opportunity to protect yourself from their dangerous choices. However, ensuring that you stay a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you is something you can control – and it just might save your life.
Rear-end accidents are among the most common accidents on our highways. People often think of this type of accident as more of a nuisance than anything else; this is far from the truth. The Insurance Information Institute (III) shares that rear-end collisions account for 7.2 percent of all fatal traffic accidents (based on data from 2017). Additionally, the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute reports all of the following statistics:
- A full quarter of traffic accidents are rear-ended accidents.
- Rear-end accidents are five times more likely in urban areas than in rural settings (indicative of the critical role of traveling too closely in traffic is expected to play).
- Occupants in the striking vehicle are more likely to be injured in rear-end accidents.
Neck injuries are the most common injuries caused by rear-end accidents.
Rear-end accidents happen, and maintaining a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you can ensure that you do not become the striking vehicle.
When to Increase Your Following Distance
Your following distance is the distance you maintain between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Maintaining a safe distance can mean the difference between avoiding a dangerous rear-end accident and not (or can decrease the severity of the accident). While your following length should be based on safe-driving practices, there are certain situations in which you should always increase the distance between yourself and the forward driver, including:
- When the weather is unfavorable, the roads are made slippery by precipitation, or visibility is low. Both could be true as well.
- When the road itself is poorly maintained
- When you are behind a truck (which limits your ability to see what is coming up on the roadway)
- When you are behind a city bus, school bus, or delivery truck (which make frequent stops)
- When the driver behind you is crowding you (maintaining more forward distance can provide you with a protective buffer if you have to slam on your brakes in an emergency)
Defensive driving is always in your best interest, and part of this process is allowing yourself a safe driving distance between your vehicle and the forward vehicle.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Killeen Personal Injury Attorney Today
If another motorist's negligence leaves you injured in any kind of accident, you need help. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has the experience, drive, and dedication to get you the compensation to which you are entitled. Your case matters, so please do not hesitate to contact us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.