Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle strikes the vehicle in front of it when both are traveling in the same direction. Rear-end collisions are common accidents in Arizona, especially on busy roads and congested highways with a lot of traffic. In fact, in 2018, they were Arizona’s most common type of collision. The state’s Department of Transportation reported 48,073 rear-end collisions in 2018: 44.38% of all multivehicle crashes. Over 13,500 of these collisions caused injuries and 62 were fatal.

Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents

Rear-end car accidents can occur when a driver is not paying attention to the road. Focusing on something else inside or outside of the cab, such as a cellphone or billboard, could delay a driver’s reaction time enough for him or her to collide with a car that suddenly stops or slows. Common distractions that lead to rear-end collisions are texting and driving, eating while driving, chatting with passengers, grooming, and trying to pick up something on the floor. Taking one’s eyes off the road or attention off the driving task for only a few seconds could be enough to cause a rear-end collision.

Another common cause of rear-end accidents is following too closely. The tailing driver could cause a rear-end collision if he or she is not giving the other driver enough space. The rule of thumb is to leave at least one car’s length of space between the front of one vehicle and the back of another. Closing this gap by tailgating, following too closely, making an unsafe lane change or speeding could increase the risk of a rear-end collision. Drivers should leave even more space between their vehicles and commercial trucks due to their larger blind spots. Increasing following distance is an effective way to reduce the risk of a rear-end accident.

Sometimes, the tailing driver does not cause the rear-end collision. Instead, the leading driver could be negligent or reckless in a way that causes the crash. The leading driver may have fallen beneath the standard of care in vehicle maintenance, for example, leading to broken brake or taillights. In this case, the tailing driver might not be able to tell the leading driver is stopping. In this situation, the leading driver may be at least partially responsible for a resultant rear-end collision.

How to Prevent a Rear-End Crash

It is up to all drivers to prevent rear-end car accidents. A driver can prevent a rear-end collision by obeying all roadway rules. Following the rules of rights-of-way, traffic signals, speed limits, following distance, vehicle control and turn signals could all decrease the risk of two vehicles colliding. Keeping a safe following distance, braking gradually and paying attention to the road, for example, could allow a driver to stop in time to avoid striking the leading vehicle. Even if the lead vehicle slams on the brakes, the tailing driver should be able to stop in time if obeying all relevant roadway rules. It can also help prevent a rear-end accident to properly maintain a vehicle – especially its lights and brakes.

Who is Liable in a Rear-End Accident?

Most people assume the tailing driver will automatically bear fault for a rear-end collision, but this is not true. Fault will fall on the driver that reasonably should have prevented the accident yet failed to do so through an act of negligence or recklessness. This could be the tailing driver if he or she is guilty of distracted, drowsy, drunk or negligent driving. It could be the leading driver, however, in other circumstances. If the leading driver cut the tailing driver off, brake-checked him or her, engaged in road-rage behaviors or failed to maintain the vehicle, he or she could be liable for a subsequent rear-end collision. Determining fault for a rear-end accident in Arizona may take a Glendale car accident attorney’s assistance.