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Common Causes of Rear-end Collisions

Common Causes of Rear-end CollisionsAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly one third of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States are the result of rear-end collisions. The following are some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions.

  • Distracted driving (i.e. texting, eating, reading, etc.)
  • Speeding
  • Heavy traffic
  • Road rage
  • Fatigued driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Vehicle malfunction

Distracted Driving

NHTSA reported in 2017 alone, distracted driving claimed 3, 166 lives. What is distracted driving? Distracted driving is performing any activity while driving that would divert the drivers attention. For example, talking or texting on the phone, eating or drinking, talking to other people in the vehicle, changing the station on the radio, pressing buttons on a navigation screen. Anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving safely is considered distracted driving and often comes with heavy consequences.

Texting is by far the most alarming distraction to drivers. Reading or sending a text message that takes your eyes off the road for even five seconds, is very dangerous. In fact, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph travels the length of an entire football field in just five seconds. That’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Unless the task of driving has your full attention, you are not driving safely. Any activity you engage in that is not driving while behind the wheel, is a potential distraction and increases your risk of causing a car accident.


Speeding is another huge cause of rear-end collisions. Speed limit signs are posted to protect everyone on the road. When a driver chooses to speed, they are putting everyone at risk of a car accident. In addition, injuries are often much worse at high speeds. In 2018, speeding killed 9,378 people according to data from the NHTSA. We are all busy. We all have things to hurry to get done. But speed limits are put in place to protect all road users. Faster does not mean safer.

Heavy Traffic

Many rear-end collisions are caused by a sudden change in traffic. Drivers often follow too closely for such rapid changes and thus cause a rear-end car crash. It is always important to keep a safe driving distance from the vehicle in front of you. A good rule to go by is the two-second rule. Ideally a driver should stay two-seconds behind the vehicle in front of them to avoid a rear-end collision.

Road Rage

Road rage is defined by the NHTSA as when a driver "commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle". Road rage is a criminal charge where as aggressive driving is a traffic offense.

Fatigue Driving

Fatigue driving also known as sleep-deprived driving is the act of operating a motor vehicle while being cognitively impaired by lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of many car accidents and can impair the human brain as much as inebriation can. Driving while sleep deprived is said to account for more than 20 percent of road fatalities.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Any amount of drugs or alcohol in your bloodstream can impact your ability to drive safely. The effects of drugs or alcohol vary greatly, putting you and everyone else on the road at risk of an accident. Safe driving requires the ability to think clearly, make good judgement and react quickly in certain situations. Alcohol affects these skills, putting yourself and others in serious danger of a rear-end collision or other types of car accidents.

Vehicle Malfunction

Though usually uncommon, vehicle malfunction is also a major cause of many rear-end collisions. To avoid such, it is important to remember to get your car checked regularly. This is especially true before going on a long road trip or vacation that requires you to drive long distances. Vehicle malfunctions are often sudden, unexpected, and frightening. Even properly maintained vehicles can have a problem when facing different road variables. Tire blowouts, steering issues, and vehicle malfunctions cause many rear-end collisions.

Aggressive and Experienced Car Accident Lawyers

If you’ve been injured from an at fault driver who caused a rear-end collisions, contact the aggressive and experienced car accident lawyers of Brent Gordon Law Firm. We have settled thousands of car accident cases and obtained great results. Call us now for a free consultation! We can usually tell you over the phone if you have a good case. Call (208) 552-0467.

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