At Dugan & Associates, we see people injured in car accidents every single day. The threat of a rear-end collision is present every time you get behind the wheel. Allegheny County suffered 3,530 rear-end accidents in 2017, according to Allegheny County Crash Data. That averages out to about 10 rear-end accidents per day, making up about 28% of all car accidents.
The threat is even greater in a major city like Pittsburgh, as rear-end collisions occur five times more often in urban areas than in rural areas. Rear-end collisions become an even bigger hazard in the Pittsburgh region when you consider the common choke points we commute through on a daily basis: congested tunnels, crowded bridges, and busy downtown streets.
Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions in the Pittsburgh Region
Rear-end collisions are almost always the fault of the driver in the back. To illustrate, take a look at the biggest cause of rear-end collisions in Allegheny County:
Rear driver driving too aggressively (a factor in 1,788 accidents in 2017)
Rear driver driving while distracted (a factor in 940 accidents in 2017)
Rear driver speeding (a factor in 781 accidents in 2017)
Rear driver following too closely (a factor in 745 accidents in 2017)
Common Rear-End Collision Injuries in Pittsburgh
In 2017, nearly half of the rear-end collisions in the Pittsburgh region resulted in an injury. Most of them were to the head, neck or spine. Some of the most common injuries in a rear-end collision are:
Traumatic Brain injury
Spinal Cord Injury
At best, these injuries can take weeks to fully heal from. At worst, they can lead to paralysis or even death. As drivers, we must avoid rear-end collisions every chance we get.
How to Avoid Rear-End Collisions in Pittsburgh
Here are a few ways you can avoid a rear-end collision regardless of whether you’re in the front or back of traffic:
1. Keep calm. Driving through Pittsburgh can be frustrating, especially in rush hour congestion. But aggressive driving is a factor in 50% of all rear-end collisions, so take a deep breath and drive safely.
2. Keep your distance. The PA Driver’s Handbook recommends staying at least four seconds behind the car in front of you so you have plenty of time to react if the driver stops suddenly. To calculate your distance:
Pick an object on the side of the road. A telephone pole, tree, or mile marker are useful options.
Wait for the car ahead to reach that object.
Count the seconds it takes for you to reach the object.
According to the PA Driver’s Handbook, if you can’t count to four seconds before reaching the object, you’re following too closely. Note: You should leave even more space in inclement weather or when it’s dark out. This is especially important for our coming winter months.
3. Keep the phone down and keep conversations to a minimum. Distracted driving caused nearly 27% of all rear-end collisions in the Pittsburgh region in 2017. Prevent this by keeping your mind and eyes focused on the road ahead, especially if you’re traveling during rush hour.
4. Be ready to react. If the car in front of you suddenly stops or swerves around an obstacle, you’ll have to respond quickly—either by switching lanes or coming to a complete stop. Always remain vigilant of the cars around you, and be mindful of when you can’t see ahead of the car in front of you.
5. Keep an eye on your rearview mirror. When approaching a stop, keep an eye on your rearview mirror for traffic behind you. If the car behind you isn’t slowing down when you slow down, there’s a chance the driver is distracted. If you can, honk your horn for attention or change lanes when it’s safe so you can avoid an accident.
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision, Dugan & Associates is here to help. We want to ensure you receive the check you deserve to cover your hospital bills and repairs to your vehicle. Contact us today if you need assistance.