One of the most popular rides in amusement parks and carnivals is the bumper cars. With little to no control over your vehicle, you spin around a track trying to crash your well-padded car into someone else's while avoiding others who are out to collide with you. While it often looks like chaos, it is a carefully controlled environment, and the low-speed encounters rarely cause injury.
On the bumper car track, if someone hits you from behind, you likely laugh hilariously and take your vengeance, all in fun. Not so in the real world. In highway traffic, if someone hits you from behind, you are probably leaving the scene in an ambulance.
How to prevent rear-end collisions
Almost one third of all accidents in Pennsylvania and across the United States are rear-end collisions, making them the most common motor vehicle accident in the country. These often occur when one vehicle is standing still — such as when you stop for road construction or at a traffic light — and another driver fails to stop in time, striking you from behind.
The National Traffic Safety Board reports that 90 percent of drivers who hit other cars from behind often realize they are about to collide within one second of the crash, too late to take evasive action. Here are some suggestions the NTSB offers to give yourself that extra second:
- On days when driving conditions are normal, keep a three-second distance between you and the car ahead of you.
- If roads are wet, icy or snow-covered, increase the distance between you and the cars ahead of you. This may mean slowing down.
- You may also need to slow down and increase your distance at night, when the day is foggy or when there is a glare from the sun that reduces your visibility.
- Vehicles following too closely, blocking your view ahead or braking frequently may require you to adjust your speed to avoid a collision.
You can avoid being the victim of a rear-end collision by driving predictably. This includes anticipating stops so you won't have to brake suddenly. Activating your turn signals before you hit the brakes to turn also warns drivers behind you of your intentions, giving them that extra second to avoid hitting you.
Since most cars don't come with thick rubber padding like bumper cars, the best protection from a collision is space. However, if you were the victim of a rear-end collision or any other type of accident, you may be suffering injuries physically, emotionally and financially. Recovering from injuries caused by another driver's negligence is no carnival ride, and you have every right to seek advice about pursuing potential compensation.