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Distracted driving and head-on collisions

You know that distracted driving causes car accidents, but that does not tell the whole story. It can cause some of the most serious crashes on Arizona's roads: head-on collisions.

The issue is that inattentive drivers, perhaps distracted by their cellphones or passengers in the car, have a tendency to drift into the oncoming lanes or swerve into traffic. This all happens very quickly, often on relatively straight stretches of road where they feel like it is "safe" to engage in distracted driving behavior behind the wheel.

While all accidents are potentially serious, these head-on crashes are so devastating because the cumulative speed of the two vehicles is as high as it is possible to get. If a driver going 50 miles per hour (mph) rear-ends a car going 10 mph in a traffic jam, that's a cumulative speed of just 40 miles per hour.

If that same driver hits another car coming toward them at 50 mph, the cumulative speed jumps all the way to 100 mph. That's a massive difference and means that the crash involves far more overall energy, which causes injuries as it gets transferred from the vehicles into the occupants.

This, of course, doesn't mean distracted drivers don't also cause all manner of other crashes. They rear end vehicles in traffic, they run stop signs and they merge without checking their blind spots. Head-on crashes are often deadly or lead to serious, life-altering injuries, so it's very important to understand the risks and your legal options if another driver hits you.

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  • Paul Faith David Ledyard Distinguished AV | Peer Review Rated | LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell | For Ethical Standards & Legal Ability
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