The Physics of Rear End Auto Accidents

Published: 10th September 2009
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Rear end accidents occur when drivers hit another vehicle in front of them, smashing it from behind. Usually, this happen when the car in front abruptly stops and the driver from behind is unable to step on the brake immediately.

According to experts, this type of auto accident has a force equivalent to half of the speed of the car. For example, a vehicle traveling at a speed of 40 mph that rear ended another car is like hitting a wall at 20 mph.

The physics of rear end collision is different from head-on collision which happens when two cars' fronts collide. In this situation, the impact is greater and deadlier because the velocity of two vehicles traveling in opposite directions is higher compared to two cars in rear end accident.

Preventing rear end accidents

• Keep a safe distance and avoid tailgaiting. Maintaining a safe distance from another vehicle will allow drivers to have enough time to maneuver and respond to changes in speed.

According to researchers, drivers should follow the 3-second rule as safe distances change with different speeds. (Choose a stationary object on the road; when a car in front passes it, the driver should be able to count to three before he passes the same object.)

If the road is slippery or the visibility is low due to bad weather, drivers should increase the time interval to at least six seconds.

• Avoid being distracted. Mobile phones and other electronic devices can serve as a distraction for drivers. According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting drivers are 20 times more likely to crash compared to people who are not using any electronic device.

Because texting while driving has been found to be more dangerous than drunk driving, several Democratic senators are pushing for a new law that will prohibit drivers to operate any electronic device while behind the wheel.

Under the proposed bill, any state that will not adopt the texting ban will lose 25 percent of its highway fund.

• Avoid constant braking-accelerating sequences. Doing so may increase the likelihood of rear end collision because the other driver will not be able to predict the speed of the vehicle in front of him/her.

• When changing speed, do this by accelerating slowly.

• Respect the right-of-way of other motorists. A recent study suggested that majority of accidents are caused by driver's behavior, so by respecting the right-of-way and being courteous to other drivers, people can avoid car collision.

• When approaching red traffic lights, take the foot off the accelerator pedal early on to avoid colliding with another car.

• Always check the tire pressure. Correct tire pressure increases safety and can make the car fuel-efficient by increasing the rolling resistance by at least 10 percent.

According to Ford, a tire can lose half of its air pressure without appearing flat.

• When transporting objects using the rear sacks or roof, drivers should use lower speeds. Doing this can increase safety and fuel-efficiency. (A study suggested that additional weight of 20kg can increase the fuel consumption by 1 percent.)

To help you deal with issues involved in rear end auto accidents, consult with our personal injury lawyers. Log on to our website and avail of our free case analysis.


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