There are nearly 6,000,000 car crashes in the U.S. each year. While each varies in severity, about 40% result in injuries. One of the biggest predicting factors in whether a car crash causes injuries is the kind of crash and where the car is struck. To get a better idea of what this means, let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous kinds of car crashes.
The Crumple Zone
To understand why some car crashes are worse than others you need to consider how the car is built. The front and rear of the car are designed to collapse and fold in on themselves, like an accordion. In a crash, this means the force of impact is diffused through the folding metal and a portion of it doesn’t get through to the passengers.
A well-designed crumple zone can absorb about 25% of the force from the front or rear, meaning there’s less force imparted on the driver and their passengers. However, the crumple zone is much less effective on the sides, absorbing just 5% of the force of impact because there’s no way for the doors to fold and absorb that force.
Because of a weak side crumple zone, T-bone crashes (also called side-impact) have a reputation for being especially deadly. Nearly all the force in the crash is transferred directly to the car. Injuries and fatalities are much more likely, especially when the driver or passenger’s door is struck directly.
T-Bone crashes are so dangerous that although they only make up 10% of all car crashes, they account for car crash 20% of car crash fatalities. Moreover, if the vehicle has high ground clearance, a T-bone may cause an even worse kind of crash.
If the force of impact from a t-bone is so great that it knocks the vehicle over or if a driver slams on the brakes too hard and turns sideways, the vehicle can begin to roll. This is extremely dangerous because it almost always results in broken glass and bodies bouncing around the cabin.
It’s a common misconception that car crash injuries are caused by the force of the crash itself. Rather, injuries are usually caused by the “second impact,” the phenomenon where bodies bounce inside the vehicle after the initial collision. The more times a car rolls, the greater this effect becomes and since the damage is inside the car, the crumple zone cannot help reduce the impact.
Head-on collisions are, by far, one of the deadliest kinds of crashes. When you hit a static object, all the force comes from your car. The faster you’re going and the heavier your vehicle, the greater the force of impact. In a head-on collision, both vehicles are struck by their own kinetic energy and also take on the force from the other car.
If you’re traveling down the highway at 60mph and you get hit by another driver in a similar car traveling the same speed, the force of impact is doubled. It’s like being in two crashes at the same time and although the crumple zone can reduce the damage by up to 25%, the force is so great that it still causes severe or even catastrophic damage. In fact, the force of impact in a high-speed collision is so great that about 50% of all head-on accidents end in at least one fatality.
While you can’t predict when you might be in these kinds of crashes, you can always drive defensively. Assume that the other driver will always make the wrong decision and plan your maneuvers accordingly. If you do this, you may be able to avoid a potentially life-changing accident.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a car crash, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer from Ross, Midian & Breitmayer, LLC, please don’t hesitate to call (614) 450-2223 or send us an email.