All car accidents have the potential to be destructive and harmful for the people involved, but some are more dangerous than others. Fortunately, the more you understand the circumstances that lead to dangerous car accidents, the more you’ll be able to avoid them.
Factors That Affect Car Accident Danger
These are some of the most important variables in determining the dangerousness of a particular car accident:
One of the most important factors to consider is the speed of the vehicles involved. The faster a vehicle or object is traveling, the more force it’s going to carry with it; that means that the faster a car is going, the harder it’s going to hit.
Additionally, if your car is moving quickly and it comes to a sudden stop, you and your passengers are going to experience more force within the vehicle. A car going 10 mph and hitting a parked vehicle is going to be far less dangerous than two vehicles hitting each other head-on at 60 mph, resulting in a total collision speed of 120 mph.
The nature of the impact.
The nature of the impact and the resulting trajectory of the car are also going to have an influence on the outcome of the accident. One car rear-ending another can be destructive, or even fatal, but it’s usually not as serious as two cars meeting each other in a head-on collision; with a head-to-head collision, there’s more speed and a heavier impact to contend with.
Additionally, T-bone accidents are especially dangerous because they have the possibility of hitting a driver or passenger directly. They also have a higher likelihood of resulting in a rollover, which can be especially damaging to the people inside.
The vehicles involved.
We also need to think about the nature of the vehicles involved in the accident. Generally speaking, the bigger the vehicle, the more force it’s going to carry, assuming it’s traveling at the same speed as a smaller vehicle. If a semi-truck hits you at 60 mph, it’s going to cause far much more damage and destruction than a compact car hitting you at 60 mph. Additionally, smaller and less protective vehicles tend to create more dangerous accidents, since the people inside don’t have as much protection. Small vehicles and motorcycles tend to be especially vulnerable.
The protection involved.
Protection plays a large role in determining whether people involved in an accident end up injured or killed. Most modern cars come equipped with a host of safety features, including crumpling components designed to distribute force and reduce the subjective impact experienced by the people inside.
They also come equipped with airbags, seatbelts, and other measures designed to keep drivers and passengers safe. However, if you’re deliberately avoiding these safety features, or if they aren’t working properly, it can instantly make the accident more dangerous.
The overall environment.
Certain environments are more dangerous than others. For example, if you’re traveling on a high-speed, busy highway, you might be more likely to be hit by multiple drivers after the initial collision, resulting in more damage and more injuries collectively. Additionally, some areas might be inherently dangerous to drivers; for example, if the road is near a sheer cliff, getting run off the road could be a death sentence.
Bad weather conditions can also make accidents more dangerous. If there’s significant snow and ice, even a minor collision can quickly escalate to become a multi-car pileup.
Simple Steps to Make Driving Safer
There are a handful of simple steps you can take to make driving safer, no matter what other factors are at play:
Invest in a safer vehicle (and use the safety features).
When shopping for a vehicle, look for something that’s going to afford you and your family better protection. Bigger vehicles with more safety features will make you less likely to result in injury or death. Just make sure you’re wearing your seatbelts with the airbags active at all times.
Obey posted speed limits.
Obeying posted speed limits, and indeed, all traffic laws, will make the road safer for both you and others. In some situations, it’s smart to reduce your speed even further, such as in construction zones or when you’re unfamiliar with the area.
Avoid or plan for inclement weather.
Heavy rain, snow, ice, and other bad weather conditions can instantly make the conditions less safe. Avoid driving entirely or exercise more caution while on the road during these conditions.
It’s entirely within your power to be a safer, more responsible driver. There’s no way for you to prevent 100 percent of car accidents on the road, but you can significantly reduce your chances of being involved – and lessen the impact of an accident, should one occur.