Fatal Independence Day Crash Shines Spotlight on Head-On Collisions

Deadly Head-On Collision Occurred In Indianapolis on Independence Day

State police say one person was killed and two others were critically injured
following a head-on crash on the east side of Indianapolis on the recent
Fourth of July holiday. The two-car wreck occurred around 11:30 a.m. near
the intersection of 12th Street and Mitthoefer Road, when one driver of a car traveling north on
Mitthoefer, crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a southbound
vehicle, critically injuring two male drivers and a female passenger.

A local bystander and former Paramedic was traveling nearby when he heard
the crash and entered the scene to help. After assessing the woman passenger,
he realized she was in cardiac arrest and soon began assisting her breathing
with ventilations. When initial rescue crews arrived, they called for
medic and extrication units who then used emergent transport to take the
woman to Methodist Hospital. She passed away a short time later. Our thoughts
are with her family during this time.

Causes of Head-On Collisions

A head-on crash typically occurs when a vehicle crosses a centerline or
a median and crashes into an approaching vehicle. A head-on crash can
also occur when a driver knowingly or unknowingly travels the wrong way
in a traffic lane. Statistics from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System
(FARS) indicate that “18 percent of noninterchange, nonjunction
fatal crashes were two vehicles colliding head-on.” Often, head-on
collisions occur because of distractions, fatigue, intoxication, and bad
decision-making on the part of the drivers involved like speeding or deliberate
actions such as executing a passing maneuver on a two-lane road.

In addition, FARS data reveals that:

  • 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on rural roads,
  • 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on undivided two-lane roads, and
  • 83 percent of two-lane undivided road crashes occur on rural roads.

Early Notification Steps Can Help Reduce Being Hit

Head-on collisions are often deadly because most drivers don’t see
them coming or don’t have the time to safely maneuver away from
the oncoming vehicle. These types of accidents should remind drivers to
be alert, not be distracted and be prepared at all times while operating
a motor vehicle. Drivers may be able to reduce their risk of being hit
head-on by having their eyes fixed on the road ahead, and taking time
to watch the flow of oncoming traffic and their driving patterns. It helps
to pay special attention to where in the lane an approaching vehicle is
driving. If they are drifting, it can give you the added time needed to
move safely out of their way.

Knowing where you can move to is a good habit to get into and one way to
avoid being involved in a head-on collision. Many roadways have a shoulder,
mostly gravel, which can be used to safely drive to the side as oncoming
vehicles travel towards your line. You will want to keep a firm grip on
the steering wheel and move slightly onto the gravel shoulder. Be prepared
to drive to the right and shouldn’t wait until the last second to
do so. If you begin leaning to the right before the other car is directly
in front of you, you have a higher chance of avoiding colliding with a
solid object. Don’t hit it head-on. Remember that you may have some
damage done to your car, but it will certainly be better than the results
of a head-on collision with another vehicle.

Panic and hitting the brakes are the worst reactions you can have. You
may lose control by braking into a skid, so slow down as much as is safely
possible. If there is an impact, this will greatly reduce the damage done
and the risk of fatality. Braking will only delay the oncoming driver
from hitting you and cause even more serious injury if not death.

Learn how to prevent head-on collisions by following these additional simple
good driving practices:

  • The first most basic preventative precaution for head-on collisions is
    to pay attention. If you are fully aware of your surroundings, you’ll
    be able to see the driver swerving down the road.
  • Turn on your headlights to bring an oncoming driver’s attention to
    your presence, even during the day.
  • But be prepared to drive into the shoulder if they continue to swerve toward you.
  • Never straddle or hug the center line. This is just asking for head-on
    collisions, either from distracted drivers or from a slip of your hand
    that takes you into the oncoming lane.
  • Drive in the right lane in multi-lane traffic areas, and if you are in
    the left, drive as close to the right as is safe. This is particularly
    true of curvy roads, so you can avoid the driver speeding around the bend
    toward you.

Help From Road Managers

For years, both State and Government road managers have been making pleas
to create strategies to minimize the amount of head-on collisions in Indiana.
Some of these strategies include, installing center line rumble strips
for two-lane roads and profiled thermoplastic strips for center lines.
They want to provide wider cross sections on two-lane roads and center
two-way left-turn lanes for four- and two-lane roads. Reallocating total
two-lane roadway width (lane and shoulder) to include a narrow “buffer
median has also been an approach to keep vehicles from encroaching into
opposite lane and minimize the likelihood of crashing into an oncoming
vehicle has also been used.

Other ‘Reducing’ Head-On Strategies

  • Enhanced delineation of sharp curves;
  • Improved highway geometry, especially for horizontal curves, including
    design elements such as curvature, super elevation, and widening through
    the curve;
  • Better pavement markings;
  • Skid-resistant pavement surfaces;
  • Improved shoulders to prevent over recovery, including paving, eliminating
    edge drops, and improving shoulder slopes; and
  • Rumble strips to slow vehicles on approaches to hazardous locations.

Were You Injured In a Head-On Collision? – Call Wagner Reese

It’s not every day that you or a loved one are injured in a car accident
let alone a scary head-on collision, but if it happens, you want the right
attorney on your side. The
vehicular accident attorneys have the experience you need to secure compensation and assist you with
your recovery. If you’ve been injured, or if you lost a loved one
due to someone else’s negligent driving, call our offices today
at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation.