In Connecticut and throughout the United States, millions of people use motor vehicles daily to get to various destinations. For many drivers, time is of the essence as they drive through Connecticut's highways. Still, all drivers must follow traffic rules, including obeying posted speed limits and utilizing safety precautions to protect themselves and other road users.
Unfortunately, car accidents still happen on our roads every day. Most of these accidents, including rear-end accidents, happen due to driver error.
A rear-end collision happens when a motor vehicle crashes into the vehicle in front of it. These accidents typically happen after a sudden deceleration by the car in front. For example, if a driver spots a pedestrian carelessly crossing the street, they may hit their brakes. If the motorist in the following vehicle doesn't react quickly enough, a rear-end accident may occur.
Rear-end collisions are among the most common accidents in the U.S. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there were approximately 3,600 fatalities (17.9% of collisions with other motor vehicles) caused by rear-end accidents in 2021. Victims of such rear-ended car accidents may sustain severe injuries that require immediate medical attention.
Since most rear-end collisions are caused by driver error, it's vital to find out what causes them and what to do if someone hits your car. This will help you understand your legal options in case you decide to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. But first, what causes most rear-end collisions?
The Connecticut Department of Transportation defines distracted driving as "any non-driving activity a person engages in while operating a motor vehicle." These distractions can be visual, manual, or cognitive and may include:
Every second a driver's attention isn't on the road is another second they are likely to hit the car in front of them. If they are distracted as they send a text message or change the radio dial, they are more likely to rear-end a car at an intersection.
Speeding is one of the leading causes of most types of car accidents, with roughly 12,330 people losing their lives in speeding-related deaths in 2021. Speeding is more than just breaking the law. It endangers the lives of road users since it affects a driver's ability to control their vehicle and react in time.
The faster a car is going on impact, the more harm may come to the drivers and passengers of both vehicles. The force of impact from a speeding-related rear-end collision can lead to serious, life-threatening injuries such as head injuries, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, or broken bones.
Another common cause of rear-end collisions in Connecticut is tailgating, which happens when a driver follows another car too closely. When drivers don't keep a safe distance between themselves and the car ahead of them, they have less time to react if the other driver suddenly hits their brakes.
If there is a considerable amount of snowfall or rain, or if there is ice, snow, or mud on the pavement, such conditions may lead to rear-end collisions. In poor weather conditions, a driver may need more time to react to brake lights from the car ahead, or they may lose control if the vehicle begins to slide or hydroplane when the brakes are engaged.
Mechanical defects, such as brake failures, are also to blame for traffic accidents in Connecticut. When brakes fail, braking pads may not create the required friction to stop a car. If the vehicle is traveling downhill, the results of a rear-end crash may be catastrophic and potentially fatal. It's important to take your car in for regular safety inspections to minimize your chances of mechanical failures.
Drunk driving in Connecticut and elsewhere in the U.S. is illegal and a criminal offense. If you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, you are considered legally intoxicated.
Unfortunately, many drivers think they are far more capable of safely driving home after drinking than they are. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains that the typical effects of an individual with a BAC of .08 include:
It doesn't take too much alcohol to interfere with your reaction time or judgment. Even a drink or two can negatively impact the driving ability of an otherwise competent driver.
Drug-impaired driving is just as dangerous. Those under the influence of marijuana, methamphetamines, opioids, or any potentially impairing over-the-counter or prescribed drug risk causing catastrophic rear-end collisions. Marijuana may slow a driver's reaction time, while methamphetamines may lead to aggressive and reckless behaviors, such as tailgating. Opioids may impair a driver's memory and thinking skills and lead to drowsiness.
Road rage, or aggressive driving, is reckless and angry behavior exhibited by motorists that can sometimes result in accident injuries. Aggressive driving behaviors may include yelling, physical threats, verbal insults, and dangerous driving methods. Road ragers use the latter to release frustration or intimidate other road users, which increases their risk of rear-end crashes.
Drivers may experience road rage for a number of reasons, such as running late because of scheduling issues or traffic delays, seeing other drivers disregard the rules of the road, external stressors, and more. If you find yourself experiencing road rage, it's always best to stop driving until you are able to calm down, both for your safety and for the safety of the drivers around you.
If you are wondering what to do when someone hits your car, it's advisable to enlist the services of an experienced car accident lawyer. At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab, & Roberge, our Connecticut accident attorneys can help you deal with the defendant's insurance company, ensuring you get the maximum compensation to cover your economic and non-economic damages.
Contact us today by online form or at (475) 223-1051 to schedule your initial consultation. We operate on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to pay anything unless you win. Get started now to discuss your options.
At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.
Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today.