Why Are Head-On Collisions So Dangerous?
Why Are Head-on Collisions So Dangerous?

Why Are Head-On Collisions So Dangerous?

There are two factors that come into play making head-on collisions so dangerous: the first is physics and the other is debris.
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Updated January 31, 2024 by Sean McQuaid

Perhaps the most deadly type of all crashes is a head-on collision. There are two factors that come into play making head-on collisions so dangerous: the first is physics and the other is debris. We will get more into that with more detail later in the article.

Head-on collisions are very deadly, but they’re pretty rare. In fact, they only account for 2% of annual traffic collisions in Colorado. But they account for 10% of all traffic fatalities. So, while they occur less frequently, they cause more severe outcomes.

Our experience is that head-on collisions are most often caused by impaired drivers. If someone else’s reckless or careless driving caused a head-on collision that led to you or a loved one getting injured or worse, then you need to speak to a personal injury lawyer immediately. You may already know this, but these accidents are too severe to wait.

The Science Behind Head-on Collisions

When you have two objects traveling at high speed that collide, the force is equivalent to their combined inertia. Think about the basic laws of physics to understand why head-on collisions are so dangerous.

The amount of energy or momentum behind your vehicle right before the crash will dictate how much damage results. In a head-on collision, you need to consider your own speed in addition to the energy behind the object you hit or that hit you. This is all known as kinetic energy, or energy generated by motion.

The greater the kinetic energy (or the faster your car is going), the worse the impact will be. Since both cars have a great deal of kinetic energy leading up to a head on collision, this is why the outcome is so severe compared to other types of accidents.

The weight of a car and speed it’s traveling will affect the kinetic energy or crash impact. The car that has less kinetic energy will end up with more damage than the car with more kinetic energy. So, if a smaller sedan collides head-on with an SUV, the sedan will likely sustain more damage, especially if the SUV is traveling faster than the sedan.

Culprit 1: Physics

When two vehicles crash head-to-head, the impact of the crash force is doubled. This creates a far more disastrous outcome than a single vehicle that hits a stationary object.

When two cars traveling at high speed crash into each other, the force of the impact can destroy the front end of both vehicles involved. This creates a serious risk of catastrophic injury or death for all occupants. The severity of the crash, of course, will depend on the speed the cars were traveling at the time of the collision. Once you have the vehicles’ speed, double that. And that’s the impact of the crash.

One common example of a head-on collision scenario is when a vehicle crosses an undivided center line on a road, or crosses a divided median and drives down the road the wrong way. Then, as they drive into oncoming traffic, they hit another car head-on. These types of accidents most commonly occur on rural roads, but can happen on any road with traffic traveling in several different lanes in opposite directions.

Culprit 2: Debris

Flying debris after a collision can pose a significant threat. Imagine the front of both cars crashing, then crumpling, and the windshield shattering. Glass will be flying everywhere.

It’s not just flying debris either, it’s debris with forceful impact behind it. That means if a shard of glass flies into your face, it won’t leave a small cut.

What Are Some Common Injuries People Get From Head-on Collisions?

People rarely get into a head-on collision accident and walk away with minor injuries. What’s more common is to see people sustain life-altering or catastrophic injuries. We regularly see trauma or burns from the airbag deployment too.

For example, one might sustain a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, lacerations, or need surgery. There is a potential for scarring and disfigurement, depending on the nature of one’s injuries.

We can assist you with documenting your losses and providing you the resources to get further medical care.

PTSD and Anxiety After the Accident

Accident victims don’t just get physically injured in head-on collisions. Most people face PTSD, anxiety, or mental anguish while they suffer from accident related injuries and all the associated damages. We can assist you with getting the proper mental health counseling for your situation.

In the worst of cases, people will have to grieve the life of a loved one. If that’s the case, you might need to contact a Denver car accident lawyer to see if you’re eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

Who is Liable in a Head-On Collision in Denver?

Examples of head on collisions include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving (e.g., texting while driving)
  • Driving while tired
  • Aggressive speeding or other reckless driving maneuvers
  • Failure to obey traffic laws, signs, or signals

Can I File a Claim for Damages After a Head-on Collision?

Injury victims in Colorado have the right to file a claim for damages within three years after a head-on collision. But, you should never wait that long. We recommend that you contact a lawyer within a few days of the crash. Whether you were the driver or passenger, if you were hit by a driver going the wrong way, you can seek damage compensation.

A Denver car accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim. If your family member died in a head-on collision, an attorney can review your case to see if you have grounds for a wrongful death claim. This is a horrible tragedy that families don’t have to face alone and can seek financial recovery at the very least for their loved one’s death.

Once you hire a lawyer to help file a claim for damages, you might be able to get compensation for things like lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. If you are unable to make the same amount of money after your injuries, you may even be able to seek repayment for diminished earning capacity.

Contact a Denver Car Accident Lawyer Today

Car accident cases can get very complicated especially when there is a big impact and serious injuries. Dealing with the insurance companies is the last thing you probably want to deal with while you’re injured and without a vehicle from a crash.

Call us today for your free initial consultation.

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