Have you been in a rear-end collision that wasn’t your fault? Rear-end crashes are the most frequently occurring type of collisions. About 29 percent of all car crashes are rear-end crashes. These wrecks result in a substantial number of injuries each year.
The Most Common Causes of Rear-End Crashes
Rear-end crashes are most commonly cause by:
- Distracted driving – The National Transportation Safety Board found that 87 percent of rear-end collisions were caused by distracted driving. This included eating, checking directions, interacting with passengers, and using a phone. The driver failed to notice the car in front in time to slow down or stop to avoid a wreck.
- Drunk driving – It is well-known that even a small amount of alcohol can impact a driver’s cognitive functioning and response time. Any amount of alcohol in your system can make you responsible for a crash.
- Driver fatigue – Like driving under the influence, driver fatigue can slow cognitive ability and reaction time.
- Aggressive driving – Aggressive driving behavior can include speeding, following too closely, cutting in front of other vehicles, or stopping suddenly.
- Hazardous weather conditions – rain, hail, fog, sleet, snow, and ice can all affect visibility and make it harder to slow and stop. Remember to adjust your driving when weather conditions are less than optimal.
When You Hit the Car in Front of You, But It’s Not Your Fault
Many people assume that rear-end crashes are always considered to be the fault of the driver who hits the car in front from behind. However, this is not necessarily true. Sometimes the driver who is hit from behind is at fault for the crash.
You may not be at fault for a rear-end wreck when:
- The driver in front of you backs up without warning
- The driver in front of you slows down and signals that he or she is turning but doesn’t make the turn
- The driver in front of you stops suddenly due to a distraction
- The driver in front of you is intoxicated and moves unpredictably
- The car in front of you has a broken brake light
- The car in front of you has mechanical problems and the driver stops without turning on hazard lights
- The driver in front of you suddenly and purposely performs a brake check (A brake check occurs when the driver in front of you suddenly applies his or her brakes to check to see if you’re paying attention.)
Rear-end crashes can have extremely serious consequences—especially if the car coming up from behind is traveling at a fast speed. This type of crash is made even worse when the victim is going at a much slower speed or is stopped. But even low-speed crashes resulting in so-called fender-benders can cause severe injuries and damage to the cars involved. And if the rear vehicle crashing into the front vehicle is larger and heavier, the force can be considerable no matter how fast the vehicles are traveling.
Many people involved in rear-end wrecks feel the effects of the crash for months or years afterward. The following are only some examples of injuries that can plague you after a rear-end crash:
The most common injury associated with a rear-end crash is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head moves violently forward and backwards causing ligaments and tendons in the neck to strain and soft tissue to sprain and tear. Whiplash can also cause nerve damage. Symptoms of whiplash may not develop for up to 24 hours and can include pain, swelling, stiffness, numbness, or tingling in the neck, shoulders, arms, and back; dizziness; headaches; jaw tightness; tiredness or trouble sleeping; trouble concentrating; memory problems; depression; vision problems; and ear ringing.
Your back muscles, joints, and soft tissue can be injured in a car wreck. Because almost everything you do involves your back, any back injuries can be debilitating. After a wreck, you may notice small pain and stiffness in your back. If your back injury is left untreated, the pain and stiffness can continue to grow over time and become chronic.
Car wreck victims often suffer from headaches due to inflammation from head, neck, or back injuries. Contrary to what many people think, a headache is not caused by the brain itself because the brain does not have any nerve fibers in it. It’s the tissues and structures around the brain and spinal column that are responsible for headaches. Inflammation and tears in those tissues and structures can result in throbbing and aching head pain. A headache after a car crash indicates that there is an underlying condition that must be diagnosed and treated.
Strains and Sprains in Extremities
The airbag and dashboard can contribute to injuries in a crash. If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder, knee, ankle, or wrist after a car crash, you may mistakenly assume that just because you don’t have any broken bones, the injury is not serious. The only way you can know for sure is to get checked out by a professional. In addition to pain, if you are experiencing stiffness, tingling, numbness, swelling, muscle weakness, the feeling of pins and needles, difficulty moving, redness, bruising, and/or a bump, you should get treated right away.
Head to the nearest Accident & Injury Chiropractic clinic where our professional Doctors of Chiropractic and staff will diagnose your injuries and give you the Pro Treatment.