Head-on collisions are a severe and often catastrophic type of car accident, accounting for a significant number of fatalities each year. While every case is unique, certain factors and issues contribute to head-on collisions in Nebraska more often than others. Identifying the most common causes can help prevent these accidents, as well as help someone who has been injured in a head-on car accident determine fault.
Driver distraction causes thousands of car accidents each year. In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3,522 deaths involving distracted drivers. Many of these fatal accidents took the form of head-on collisions. A driver that is distracted by a cell phone, food, drinks, passengers or anything else may stray into the opposite lane of traffic and cause a head-on collision with another driver.
Fatigue has been likened to alcohol or drugs when it comes to its effects on driving ability. A drowsy driver experiences many of the same effects as a drunk driver, including distraction, delayed reaction times and poor judgment. Truck drivers are especially prone to drowsy driving due to long hours on the road. If a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, he or she may drift into the wrong lane and cause a head-on collision.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a significant problem in Nebraska and around the country. Thousands of serious injuries and deaths occur in accidents involving drunk drivers each year. A drunk driver may exhibit reckless behaviors that can lead to deadly head-on collisions, including driving the wrong way on a one-way street, speeding, running a red light or falling asleep behind the wheel.
Passing should only be done when it is safe to overtake the other driver. The opposite lane should be free and clear of any oncoming vehicles for enough time to allow the driver to safely pass. Passing should never be done across a solid yellow line, before a hill or around a curve. If a driver passes negligently or recklessly, he or she could cause a head-on collision with an oncoming car in the opposite lane.
Failing to Yield
Head-on collisions can take place at intersections if someone fails to yield the right-of-way. If one driver runs a red light, he or she could cause another driver to crash into the vehicle head-on. Intersections are carefully controlled to avoid collisions between cross-sections of traffic. If road signs and control devices are ignored, the front sides of two vehicles could collide or a T-bone accident could occur.
Poor Road Conditions
Some head-on collisions are caused not by driver error but by poor road conditions. If a road is in a dangerous state of disrepair, it may have a defect that leads to a loss of vehicle control or forces a driver to swerve to avoid the hazard. Common examples include potholes, storm debris, missing guardrails and missing reflectors. An issue such as a broken traffic light or obscured stop sign could also lead to a head-on collision. Finally, wet or snowy roads could cause a driver to hydroplane into the other lane.
Seeking Compensation for a Head-On Collision in Nebraska
If a negligent driver causes a head-on collision, the victim or the victim’s family can file a claim against the driver’s car insurance company. All drivers in Nebraska are required to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance to pay for car accidents. If a road defect caused or contributed to the crash, the government may be held liable. To discuss your legal options after being involved in a head-on collision, consult with an Omaha car accident attorney for free at Knowles Law Firm.