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Common Reasons for Head-On Collisions

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Florida is a Major Motorcycle Accident State

Florida and especially Jacksonville and Northeast Florida has the best of both worlds, beautiful beaches and warm sunny weather. Florida tops the list as the 2nd most visited state in the union, second only to California. Additionally, Florida is also one of the fastest growing state in the country with over 1,000 people a day moving in according to census data. With all this growth and record numbers of tourists, it should be no surprise Florida’s motorcycle accident numbers rank amongst the highest in the nation. There were 344,170 traffic accidents in Florida in 2014, a 9% increase over the previous year, and unfortunately 2015 accident count is not showing any decline.

The Dangers of Head-On Collisions

Motorcycle accidents occur in many different ways and for a variety of reasons. The most common motorcycle accidents are side and head-on collisions. Head-on collisions present the most dangerous types of accidents for cyclists and their passengers. Anytime the front of a motorcycle striking into the front or back end of another vehicle the unprotected impact can cause significant injuries. These accidents also occur when both vehicles are in motion and when combined with high rates of speed, compound the forces of nature. Consequently, catastrophic injuries are sometimes produced and often times results in fatalities to the victims. The Department of Transportation estimates that 18% of all motorcycle crashes that occur outside of intersections involve head on collisions. Even though these accidents make up only 2% of the total motorcycle crashes they produce the highest death rate approaching 10%.

New Vehicle Technology to Help Prevent Accidents

Many new cars are now being designed and equipped with accident reducing technology such as automatic braking and warning systems. These devices were developed to reduce the risk of head-on collision and other types of avoidable accidents. The systems warn a driver of a potential accident occurring with another vehicle, even a motorcycle, but the technology is limited to only a few vehicle manufacturers.  Automobiles and pick-up trucks are being made safer with newly developed crumple zones, upgraded seat belt protection, front, side and even overhead airbags and crash absorbing bumpers. These designs are intended to reduce the impact of an accident, but motorcyclists are still in just as much danger if involved in a crash.  The best technology that provides these additional safety features may protect automobile and truck drivers, but motorcyclists are still just as vulnerable as ever when involved in an accident.

The majority of head-on collisions that occur between motorcycles and other vehicles are usually due to the other driver’s negligence. If a negligent driver causes an accident, the injured victims have the right to hold that party responsible for their mistakes and receive fair compensation for their injuries and loss.

Causes of Head-on Collisions

Many reasons exist of why head-on crashes occur. The following are examples of the more common causes of these crashes:

Drunk Drivers — According to the Insurance Information Institute Report  drunk or impaired driver accidents account for 30% of all accidents resulting in a fatality. Drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs are physically impaired sometimes causing them to swerve and leave their designated lane. Often times they may cross the center line and collide with oncoming traffic. Drunk drivers may proceed down a one-way street often times causing a head-on collision. Vision impaired drivers many times don’t see motorcycle.

Driving While Tired— Many accidents occur due to driver fatigue and are really too tired to drive. This often happens to truck and semi-truck drivers who spend long hours without rest on our highways and roads. Their lack of concentration or judgement, causes many accidents and if a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel the results can be catastrophic. Falling asleep at the wheel many times results in lane crossing and even unprotected medians, causing head on collisions which can result in death and dismemberment.

Distracted Driving — With today’s technology in use while driving, smart phone, tablet and other electronic device are causing more accidents than ever before.  Texting has become the most common form of distracted driving. The average text message either sent or received takes over 5 seconds to complete and paying attention to texts while driving is very dangerous. At 55mph vehicles would travel the length of a football field in that length of time and if the negligent driver was giving texts their full attention, that distance would be driven without looking at the road once. In 2014 it is estimated that over 3,000 victims were killed, and over 430,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Distracted drivers often times leave their own lanes without knowing it causing accidents. These types of crashes, without the aid of medians, often times results in head-on collisions.

Improper Passing — Florida drivers should be aware of rules regarding proper passing procedures and that you are not supposed to pass another vehicle when there is a double yellow line. Impatient and reckless drivers oftentimes feel they have enough space to pass cars on a two-lane highway or road without showing due caution. Many times the driver passing another vehicle miss-judges the distance of oncoming cars and don’t have enough time to brake or get back into their lane in time to avoid a head-on collision. Many times, accidents are caused by a driver passing a vehicle but failing to recognize that a car, truck or motorcycle is pulling out of a side street or driveway turning left into the on-coming vehicles path.

Rural Roads — According to recent statistics about 50% of all head on collisions occur on rural, two lane roads. These roads are often narrow and winding and in many cases have blind spots that can make it difficult to see oncoming traffic. Also, most rural settings don’t typically have patrolling law enforcement officers so many drivers travel at high speeds and take chances they would not ordinarily take if police were present. These dangerous conditions can lead to vehicles crossing into opposite lanes causing accidents with oncoming traffic.

Road hazards — Florida has many construction zones with poor road surfaces, and uneven and un-marked lanes, with objects in the road that can cause a driver to quickly swerve or lose control of their car, truck or motorcycle. Motorcycles are especially vulnerable to any type of road hazard present and serious accidents and injuries can result if the cyclists don’t use extreme caution when encountering these types of hazards.

Wood, Atter and Wolf are experienced motorcycle accident attorneys representing injured victims and their families for over 30 years. Michael Atter and David Wolf are defenders of accident victim’s rights to fair and just compensation. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a motorcycle, car, truck, semi-truck, bicycle or pedestrian accident, give Michael or David a call.

Our consultations are free and there are no fees or costs unless we win money for you. Or visit us on our website at WoodAtter.com.


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