Head-on collisions only account for about 13% of the motor vehicle accidents in California and around the country, but they are often fatal. This type of crash happens when vehicles traveling in opposite directions strike each other, which means the force of impact is doubled. What makes these accidents particularly dangerous is that they often occur at highway speeds, which means drivers have little time to take evasive action.
Crossing the center line
Head-on collisions sometimes occur when drivers enter highways using exits instead of entrances, but they are most commonly caused by vehicles that cross the center line and enter the path of oncoming traffic. This is sometimes done deliberately by drivers attempting to pass another vehicle, but distraction, fatigue, or impairment are more often to blame for auto accidents. Drivers who find themselves in a situation where another vehicle is bearing down on them may instinctively steer to the left to get out of the way, but this could make matters worse if the wrong-way driver realizes he or she has crossed the center line and tries to return to the proper lane.
New Year’s Day tragedy
An accident on January 1 in Fresno County demonstrates how deadly head-on collisions can be. A Dodge SUV traveling southbound on California State Route 33 strayed into the northbound lanes and struck a pickup truck head-on. Seven of the nine people who died in the accident were children between six and 15 years of age.
Wrongful death lawsuits
Drunk, drowsy, or distracted drivers who cause head-on collisions are often killed along with the occupants of the vehicles they strike, but that does not mean the families of their victims are left without legal recourse. In these situations, personal injury attorneys with experience in auto accident cases may file wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent driver’s estate or automobile insurance company.