Lead vehicle characteristics during rear-end crashes

| May 29, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Rear-end accidents are dangerous for anyone in virtually any vehicle. Much of the risk comes from the fact that the lead driver cannot take any action to avoid the crash. They may never see it coming or, if they do, they may be in a position — sitting in traffic at a red light, for instance — where they cannot move.

This risk is exceptionally high for motorcyclists. The small size of a motorcycle makes it harder to see and more likely to be overlooked. With no protection, someone who gets rear-ended on a bike stands high chances of suffering serious injuries.

To understand how rear-end accidents happen, researchers looked at 7,024 events that led to these types of accidents. When considering the actions of the lead vehicle, this is what they discovered:

  • In 45% of cases, the front vehicle was slowing down or decelerating.
  • In 38% of cases, the front vehicle had already stopped when it got hit.
  • In just 2% of cases, the front vehicle was just driving more slowly than the vehicle behind it.
  • In 15% of cases, other various factors played a role.

What you can see here is that drivers who have stopped at traffic signals or while waiting to turn, along with drivers who are slowing down in order to do so, face the greatest risks. A simple speed difference on the road doesn’t actually lead to an accident all that often. When one car stops, though, the risks skyrocket.

If you get seriously injured in one of these accidents, especially if you were riding a motorcycle and had no protection in the crash, be sure you are well aware of the legal options that you have.