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What are the common causes of rear-end collisions?

When you're driving, the last thing you want to have to do is to try to pay attention to what's happening behind you. You already have to pay attention to what's going on ahead of you and to the side, but it's relatively expected that those driving behind you will keep a safe distance. While you check the rearview mirror occasionally, doing so regularly would be a danger to yourself and others, since it takes your eyes off what's ahead.

    Rear-end crashes happen when a vehicle hits the one in front of it. It should be easy to avoid this, but drivers to the rear aren't always safe. They can, and often do, cause rear-end collisions. There are many reasons for these crashes, including:

    • Speeding
    • Road rage
    • Mechanical failure
    • Drowsiness
    • Heavy traffic
    • Distracted driving
    • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

    Most rear-end collisions happen because the vehicle to the back is driving too closely to you. If you have to stop suddenly or maneuver in an unexpected way, the vehicle could hit you. In most cases, the driver to the rear is considered to be at fault for the crash, but you should do all you can to give the driver enough time to stop without colliding with you.

    Of all the causes of rear-end collisions, one of the most common is getting distracted. A driver might be looking down at their GPS unit or sending a text message. Those are both actions that quickly cause problems, because the driver isn't looking at the road and isn't in control of the vehicle. If you have to stop, they may not look up in time to put on their brakes.

    What can you do to avoid a rear-end crash?

    If you can, check your rearview mirror occasionally, seeing the distance between yourself and other vehicles. If someone is approaching too closely, move over or slow down so that they can pass you. If you see someone texting or looking away from the road, it's best to allow them to pass as well, so that you can avoid having them behind you.

    Of course, it's not always possible to know that someone is distracted or influenced in other ways, and crashes do happen. If you are hit, you should call 911 and have the police and emergency team come to the scene, so you can get medical help and document the collision.

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