Not all head-on car crashes are the same.
The thought of a high-speed, head-on crash is dreadful. Upon impact, passengers in the vehicles are flung forward at the same speed their vehicle had been traveling.
Adding to the danger is the fact that most head-on collisions aren’t square.
Research has shown that the less the front of the car is involved in a head-on impact, the greater the chance of fatal injuries to the occupants of the vehicle. This is because glancing blows will cause the car to rotate (offset crash), and the rotation causes bodies inside to move sideways and miss the airbags. Meanwhile, the corners of the car are caving in toward the front-seat passengers to do harm.
Head-on crashes that aren’t square can also cause ricochets that end in secondary impacts and further injury to the occupants. Add in the possibility of fire and explosion, and you have a concoction of dangers that elevates the hazards to victims of offset crashes.
What can you do to lower your risk? Take these precautions to better your odds on the road:
- Slow down. Your reaction time and deceleration time will both be improved.
- Turn off the cellular device. The distraction of glancing at your phone may take away time from braking when you need it. The smallest difference can determine life or death.
- Purchase a safe car. Some cars’ safety cells perform better than others in tests. Do your research and shop wisely.
- Get yourself to a doctor if you’re in an offset crash. Many people have walked away from offset crashes seemingly unscathed, only to die later from undetected internal injuries. Even if you don't feel immediate injury, it’s best to call 9-1-1 and get checked out just to be sure.
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