reflective-safety-accident-reduction

Rear End Collisions - Why they Happen and How to Prevent Them

Steve Cole

As mentioned in a previous blog, rear end collisions occur when a driver does not see a slow or stopped vehicle in front of them in time to stop or take evasive action. About 1/3 of accidents are rear end collisions. Research shows that these types of collisions cause higher rates of injuries, deaths and damage to property than other types of vehicle accidents.  This type of collision is different from other accidents in that it is almost always avoidable with increased visibility and increased driver response time.  Better visibility, more response time, fewer collisions.

Truck Tailgate Reflective Chevron Visibility PanelNo driver wants to be in an accident and given enough response time a driver will avoid an accident if at all possible. In other words, a driver will not hit what they can see in time to avoid. But on the contrary, if a driver cannot see another vehicle or obstacle, there is no way for them to avoid hitting it.

Slow moving vehicles or vehicles that stop and start periodically are at constant risk of being struck from behind. Most of these vehicles are commercial or government type vehicles. Commercial enterprises with fleets of service vehicles, Power Companies, Gas Companies, Utilities, Police Departments and Emergency Service Organizations all have to deal with the exposure they have to these types of accidents. (The aforementioned vehicles are at higher risk because of they either go slow or stop near moving traffic)

As you drive each day you will no doubt come across vehicles that you have to slow down and avoid to keep from hitting them. If you and I have near miss situations while we are paying attention, imagine what a distracted driver would experience. The bottom line is that increased visibility can reduce accidents for all types of drivers in all conditions because seeing vehicles earlier can in every case reduce the possibility of a collision.

When it comes to designing a visibility solution for your vehicle or fleet of vehicles a fact to consider is that about 50% of fatalities occur in the day and about 50% occur at night indicating that day and night time visibility are equally important. It is for this reason that any effort to increase visibility must address both day and night time conditions.

Think about this scenario. We are all familiar with the big brown UPS delivery vehicles. They are everywhere. Imagine that it is getting dark and you drive around a curve at 35 mph and there before you is a huge brown ups truck parked in the road. Since UPS uses brown as their primary vehicle color the truck blends in very well with the dark night. Think about what is keeping you from hitting the UPS vehicle? Normally just luck and quick reflexes. Now lets say you round the same curve and see the same vehicle but with bright yellow and red alternating stripes like what fire trucks use marking the rear of the vehicle. You most likely have a second or more of response time to make speed adjustments and avoid a collision. The point is, visibility is important.


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