When you are on the road and you come upon a traffic jam, do you keep your eyes on your rearview mirror as you wait for vehicles to start moving again? Do you hold your breath as a vehicle comes barreling up behind you, hoping the driver can apply the brakes before colliding with you? Does your heart beat faster when you see the driver is looking down while approaching the line of stopped cars? What if the vehicle behind you is a tractor-trailer?
Unfortunately, these scenes are not unusual. Almost one-third of all accidents are rear-end collisions. A rear-end collision can occur without warning, or you may have the terrifying experience of watching the vehicle approach and feeling helpless to get out of the way. Perhaps most frustrating of all is that 90% of collisions from behind are preventable.
Reckless driver following you?
You may have foggy memories of your driver’s education instructor teaching you to allow one car length between you and the vehicle in front of you. Perhaps you learned the three-second rule in which you watch the vehicle ahead passing an object, then count to three before your vehicle passes the same object. With the increasing speed and density of traffic on many Illinois roads and highways, it may be difficult to maintain that safe distance, especially when other drivers do the following:
- Failing to leave room to brake when the weather is poor or roads are slick from rain or snow
- Driving too fast when visibility is low and it may be difficult to see vehicles ahead, such as when it is foggy or there is a glare from the sun
- Tailgating, often as a form of aggressive driving, which allows little time or space for a quick stop
- Failing to take into consideration the surrounding conditions, such as whether you may be driving through a construction zone or if there is an accident ahead
Of course, one of the most common reasons for a rear-end collision is distracted driving. A driver behind you who is rubbernecking, texting or adjusting controls inside the vehicle may not look ahead in time to see you before plowing into you. This may leave you with devastating injuries and perhaps even the loss of a loved one who is traveling with you.
Rear-end collisions are almost always preventable if the other driver is using caution and obeying traffic laws. However, if you should suffer injuries in a rear-end collision, you have the right to reach out for assistance with the many medical, financial and legal issues that may result from your accident.