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What causes fatal rear-end car collisions?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Rear-end motor vehicle collisions can have serious consequences and often lead to death for drivers and passengers alike, although many may not consider them as dangerous as other types of crashes. However, the Insurance Information Institute reports that these types of incidents are the second-most common cause of death in highway crashes, second only to angle-style accidents.

Uncovering some frequent causes of these deadly crashes may help motorists prevent or lower the risk of death on the highways and rural roads as well.


Drivers who speed are generally more likely to cause a fatal rear-end collision because they cannot brake in time when traffic stops in front of them unexpectedly. This often occurs on highway exits, when motorists exit the ramp at a high rate of speed and are not prepared for stopped traffic around a blind curve or hill. This can cause deaths in either car or cause a chain reaction accident.

Inattention to road conditions

Heavy rain, sleet and snow may all make roads slick, which reduces the time drivers require to brake properly. Heavier vehicles usually require additional time to stop and avoid a rear-end collisions, such as pickup trucks and SUVs. Using winter tires and reducing speed during poor weather can reduce the risk of a fatal rear-end accident.

Phone usage

Texting or talking on the phone while driving can increase the chances of driver inattention, leading to a serious rear-end accident. These actions take drivers’ eyes off the road and reduce the time they have to brake safely.

While distraction is the most common cause of fatal crashes, including rear-end wrecks, drivers can prevent serious accidents by focusing on the traffic flow and leaving at least three car lengths between their vehicles and those ahead of them.