Rear-end crashes are one of the most common types of car accidents. Avoiding them is important, and there are some preventative measures you can take to do so.

Did you know that nearly a third of all car accidents are rear-end collisions according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA)? Consider that when we look at the data from the latest reporting year in West Virginia:

  • there were 268 traffic accident fatalities and 1,381 serious traffic injuries.

Preventing rear-end collisions will cut down on fatalities and injuries, so today we want to share the best ways to avoid these incidents.

Leave space between you and the car in front of you

This is the number one way to avoid a rear-end collision. The more space between you and the vehicle in front of you, the more time you have to react if they slam on the brakes. You never know what the driver in front of you is going to do, so be prepared for anything.

Check your mirrors

You learned in driver’s education to check your mirrors every few seconds as well as every time you stop or hit the brakes. If you notice the vehicle behind you is tailgating, you could let them pass or adjust your driving accordingly.

Do not drive distracted

Distracted driving is a major problem on West Virginia roadways. It is against the law to text and drive, but you should also not be using a handheld device to talk on the phone. Keep it hand-free and pay attention to the roadway. Those emails and text messages can wait.

Brake slowly

You should always slow your vehicle in a controlled manner (unless there is an emergency). When you see a stop approaching, don’t wait until the last second to brake. This will increase the chances of the car behind you slamming into the back of your vehicle. Give your fellow drivers time to react to your stopping.

Check your brake lights regularly

It is important to make sure your brake lights work regularly. Many people do not realize their brake lights are out until all of them are out. This can lead to major crashes on the roadway because your fellow drivers will have a much harder time knowing when you are stopping.

Be aware of the driving conditions

You will not always have ideal driving conditions. Sometimes the roadways are wet or icy. Sometimes there are obstacles on the roadway. Be aware of changing roadway conditions and always watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Don’t drive drowsy or impaired

Driving while fatigued or while impaired will slow your reaction time. If you are tired or drunk, call someone to get you or take a rideshare home.

Vehicle technology is increasing

Newer vehicles may come with collision avoidance systems that alert drivers to impending crashes. Some of these vehicles even take measures to avoid the crash for you. These avoidance measures can include automatic electronic braking (AEB) systems. While this new technology can help reduce the chances of a rear-end collision, you should not rely solely on this technology. Never depend on a vehicle’s system to keep you safe. When you are the driver of a vehicle, it is your responsibility to be ready for any situation or hazard on the roadway.