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Head-On Car Crashes

A head-on car crash is the least common type of auto accident; it is also the most dangerous type of car crash. In fact, head-on car crashes cause catastrophic damage and often result in fatalities.

Frontal impacts accounted for 54% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2016. Side impacts accounted for another 25% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths. (IIHS, 2018) (Source:

head-0n Car Crash - Altizer Law PC

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported a 58% fatality rate for vehicle occupants in frontal impact crashes in 2017. A head-on crash is more likely in a rural area, and 13% of all rural fatal crashes are head-ons. In urban areas, fewer than 7% of fatal crashes are head-ons.

Around 2 million drivers in car accidents experience permanent injuries every year. (Source:

Causes and Contributing Factors

Head-on collisions are exactly what the designation implies: two vehicles crash together at the front end of both cars. Common causes of head-on (or frontal impact) crashes include

  • One vehicle drifts across the center line and into the path of oncoming vehicles.
  • One driver has entered an on-ramp or exit froBettina C Altizer
  • m the wrong direction.
  • One driver swerves to avoid a hazard and causes a head-on collision.

Many of these factors may play a role in many types of accidents. These include:

  • Visibility Issues. Many weather and other factors (growth of vegetation) can affect the visibility the signs, and road markings may not do their job in directing drivers and preventing crashes. Inclement weather can often affect visibility on many roadways.
  • Unfamiliar Roads. Finding oneself in an unfamiliar area and not knowing how to get back to an area you know can cause stress, confusion, and panic. This can result in ill-considered and wrong decisions.
  • Driver Impairment. The effects of alcohol, drugs, and drowsiness include confusion, inability to recognize surroundings or much slower reaction times.
  • Driver Distraction. Anything that distracts a driver from a complete focus on the road ahead can be the final push toward a head-on car crash when the situation and the conditions are present.

Common Injuries Caused by Head-on Collisions

Regardless of the cause of the head-on car crash, serious injuries can result. Some of the common injuries sustained by drivers and passengers in a head-on collision include:

  • Neck injuries. When the force of a head-on collision suddenly impacts the vehicle and whipping the body forward and to a sudden halt, it can often lead to severe neck injuries.
  • Head injuries. Even with the proper deployment of an airbag, serious head injuries during a head-on collision are common.
  • Cuts and bruises. Shattered glass and crushed metal and plastic commonly occur in head-on collisions. When shrapnel comes in contact with the driver or passengers, cuts and bruises are the usual consequences.
  • Death. A very unfortunate attribute of head-on collisions is their high death rate. Although they only account for a small percentage of accidents, head-on crashes account for a significant percentage of car accident deaths.

What You Can Do

There are a few things that you can do to prevent causing a head-on collision and to avoid being a victim of one.

  1. Take care of your car. Keep it in good condition and check tires regularly. Ensure that your windows, windshield, and mirrors are clean. Maintain all of the driver-assistive technology in your car.
  2. Avoid the Deadly D’s. Don’t drive drunk, drugged, drowsy or distracted.
  3. Report visibility problems with signage on roadways.
  4. Brush up on defensive driving basics.

Call Altizer Law, P.C.

If you or a loved one is injured in a head-on crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Head-on crashes are complex, as are the injuries sustained by those involved. When you need legal help with your insurance claim, you need an experienced and trusted auto accident attorney to protect your rights and to fight for the maximum allowable financial compensation. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been helping people recover appropriate damages for more than 30 years. They understand that fighting for compensation is about the money.