What Are Leading Causes of Dangerous Head-On Collisions?

Posted on: July 22, 2022

A head-on collision is one of the most dangerous types of car accidents. When two vehicles traveling in opposite directions crash head on, the results can be disastrous. Although head-on collisions can happen anywhere, they commonly occur on undivided rural roads.

Head-on collisions have a higher rate of serious injuries and fatalities to the vehicle occupants than other types of motor vehicle accidents. Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that in 2020, 58 percent of all passenger vehicle occupant fatalities happened in frontal-impact accidents.

The following information can help drivers become familiar with the leading causes of head on-collisions so that they can stay safe whenever they get behind the wheel.

Distracted Driving

Anything that takes your focus off the act of driving and the road ahead is a distraction and could cause a serious head-on collision. A distraction could be physical, such as eating, drinking, putting on makeup, or programming the navigation system. Other distractions are cognitive, such as daydreaming, chatting with passengers, or strong emotions, including anger and road rage.

The most dangerous distractions are both physical and cognitive, such as using a cellphone to text someone or check social media. It only takes a few seconds of distracted driving to cross the center line and get into a head-on collision.

Driving Under the Influence

Using drugs or alcohol while driving impairs your ability to think and react quickly. It can also inflate your opinion of your driving abilities in general, leading you to make bad judgement calls. Drunk drivers often have problems staying in their lane and can swerve into oncoming traffic without realizing it.

Wrong-Way Drivers

Driving the wrong way down a road, highway, or entrance/exit ramp happens when someone is unfamiliar with the place they are driving in and get confused. Drunk drivers and drowsy drivers can also make the same mistake. Either way, a wrong-way driver is a serious danger.

Drowsy Driving

Driving while fatigued impairs your reaction time and judgement in the same way that alcohol does. Extreme fatigue can lead to falling asleep behind the wheel and drifting into oncoming traffic. Being well-rested when behind the wheel can help you avoid a head-on collision.

Unsafe Passing

Never pass another car unless you are in a zone where passing is allowed and you are certain that you have enough time and space to do so. Some head-on collisions are caused by drivers who pass another car illegally or make an error in judgement as they attempt to pass.


Speeding in general can lead to a head-on collision, but the risk is greater when speeding around a sharp curve. Taking a curve at too high of a speed can make it impossible to stay in your lane. If there is traffic around the bend, a head-on collision will be unavoidable.

Weather Conditions

If the roads are wet and slick or snowy and icy it may be difficult maintain control of your vehicle, especially if you are traveling too fast. Trying to brake quickly could cause your car to spin out into oncoming traffic. Adjusting your speed for the weather conditions can help you avoid a head-on collision.

What Are Some Common Injuries in Head-On Collisions?

Many factors affect what happens to the occupants of vehicles that crash into each other head on. The size of the vehicles involved, the speed they were traveling at the time of impact, and the safety features of the vehicle and whether or not they were in use all affect the types of injuries.

Speed is perhaps the greatest factor that leads to serious injuries. Many times in head-on collisions caused by drunk, drowsy, or distracted drivers, they do not brake in time or at all, which means the impact of the accident happens at high speeds. The driver and passengers seated in the front of the vehicle absorb all of the impact of the crash.

High speed head-on collisions can result in the following:

  • Death.
  • Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis.
  • Brain injuries.
  • Head injuries.
  • Injuries caused by the deployment of airbags, such as facial lacerations and broken facial bones.
  • Whiplash.
  • Internal organ damage.
  • Injuries to the knees, hips, and legs as the crash impact crushes the front of the vehicle.

Like most motor vehicle accidents, head-on collisions are almost always caused by driver error. If you were injured in a head-on collision caused by another drivers negligence, you may be eligible for compensation to cover the expense of repairing or replacing your vehicle, as well as the costs of ambulances, medical treatment, medications, medical equipment, rehabilitative therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The family of a loved one who was killed in a head-on collision can file a wrongful death suit to recover damages for emergency medical care, burial expenses, loss of future income, and loss of companionship.

Modified Comparative Fault

When seeking compensation, you should understand that New Jersey follows the legal rule of modified comparative fault. This means that if you share any responsibility for the accident that caused your injuries, the amount of your reward will be reduced by your percentage of fault determined by the court. For instance, if the court finds that the other driver was 90 percent responsible for what happened but that you also bear 10 percent liability for the accident, your overall compensation award will be reduced by 10 percent. If the court finds that you are more than 50 percent responsible, you cannot recover any damages.

Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Those Who Have Been Injured in Head-On Collisions Recover Compensation

For help recovering compensation for injuries from a head-on collision, contact one of our experienced Monmouth County car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. From our offices in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.