Head-On Collisions: Rarer, And More Dangerous, Than Many Imagine

March 11, 2013

It is every driver's nightmare, looking through your windshield to see another set of headlights bearing down at you. There's something especially terrifying about a head-on collision. While head-on accidents do not occur with the frequency some might imagine, they can be among the most dangerous of roadway crashes. Our Panama City head-on crash law firm is prepared to help the victims of these crashes recover damages via a personal injury or, in the case of a fatal crash, wrongful death lawsuit.

Passing Attempt Leads to Head-On Collision, Leaving One in Critical Condition
Officials from the Florida Highway Patrol are investigating a serious three-car crash on State Road 285 north of Bob Sikes Road, a location within the Elgin Air Force Base reservation. As detailed by Northwest Florida Daily News, twenty-one year old David Lampitt was driving south on SR 285 in a 2004 Chevrolet Impala shortly after eight P.M. on Friday when he attempted to pass a 1999 Honda Accord. As he maneuvered to overtake the Accord, Lampitt collided with a 1994 Pontiac Sunbird that was travelling north with Mike Cummings, a forty-one year old from Valparaiso, behind the wheel. After the initial crash, the Impala slid into the Honda Accord which was being driven by Jamie Jensen-Barley, age nineteen. The Impala eventually came to a rest after flipping onto its roof.

Cummings suffered critical injuries and a helicopter carried him to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola. The other two drivers incurred less serious injuries.

Head-On Accidents: Statistics and Safety Efforts
Statistics show that while head-on crashes are less common than other forms of car accidents, they are among the most deadly forms of auto accidents. One statistic, reported by numerous sources including Wikipedia without direct reference to the specific study, suggests that head-on collisions accounted for only 2% of all U.S. crashes in 2005. However, head-on incidents accounted for slightly more than 10% of fatal crashes in that year.


Perhaps surprisingly, passing is not the most common source of head-on accidents. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has developed a Strategic Highway Safety Plan built around twenty-two focal areas, including the reduction of head-on accidents. In that section of the study, the group cited statistics finding that a mere 4.2% of head-on accidents on undivided two-lane roads involved an attempt to pass or overtake another vehicle. With comparable numbers on rural roads, 68% of head-on fatalities on two-lane roads involved drivers who were "going straight" and 23% involved drivers "negotiating a curve."

There are a number of steps that communities can take to reduce head-on accidents. These include improving signage, adding road surface markings (such as rumble strips), and installing physical median barriers. Community efforts cannot work unless drivers also take responsibility. While passing accidents are smaller in number, it is still important for drivers to exercise caution when overtaking another vehicle. Drivers must also pay attention to a road's curves and take the curves at an appropriate speed. Finally, drivers must focus on driving and avoid the many distractions that can lead to drifting into another lane. Looking up from the start eliminates the risk of looking down, such as one might do while texting, and looking back to see the headlights of opposing traffic, the terrifying image presented in the opening of this post.

Accident Attorney for Panama City Car Accident Victims
If another driver's negligence caused a head-on crash in the Florida Panhandle region that left you injured or claimed the life of a loved one, please call our Panama City accident lawyer to arrange a free consultation. Let's discuss your accident and your legal rights, the first step to getting the compensation you deserve.

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(Photo attributed to "orangesky3")