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The science behind the severity of a head-on crash

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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The kind of crash you’re involved in is a significant factor in how seriously hurt you get. High-speed collisions, as you’d expect, are among the worst. However, even at lower speeds, head-on crashes may result in injuries equal to a higher-speed crash. How? It comes down to physics.

Any force that you hit exerts force back on your vehicle, even when stationary. When you hit something, the speed at which you’re traveling will determine how much force is exerted back onto your vehicle. If something that you hit is light enough or is moving in the same direction, the force is less as it absorbs some of the impact. The same is not true of two moving objects hitting head-on.

A head-on crash is among the most forceful

Since two vehicles traveling at a high speed will hit with a high impact, the force of the collision multiplies. The combined kinetic energy of the two vehicles will increase the force of the impact and heighten the risk of serious injuries or death.

In a head-on crash, the lighter vehicle will take the most damage, because it is the one with less kinetic energy. Depending on how large the vehicles are, the crash could be significant. Two small vehicles colliding will likely not be as bad as a large truck and smaller vehicle. In the second scenario, it’s possible that the small vehicle could be crushed or pushed out of the way by the larger vehicle.

What can you do to reduce the risk of injuries in a serious crash?

To reduce the risk of getting hurt, make sure you do all you can to reduce the force of the collision. If you see someone driving toward you, reduce your speed as much as you can. Taking a wider route, such as trying to move away in the lane, may also give you more time to slow down and reduce the potential force of the crash. Another option is to collide with something less dangerous, like a bush or plastic traffic barriers, if it means that you avoid the greater force of a head-on collision.

No matter what you do, a crash is significant. You’ll need to be seen by a medical professional to have an examination and to be sure you understand your injuries. You can make a claim against the other driver if their actions caused the crash.