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3 common causes of rear-end collisions

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Car Accidents

Rear-end collisions are some of the most common crashes that occur. They happen at intersections and on busy highways. Although people are often dismissive of rear-end crashes, they can be very serious incidents.

The occupants of either vehicle might potentially develop serious injuries, especially if the crash occurs at higher speeds. Additionally, significant property damage is possible. A vehicle could end up totaled and unsafe to drive after a rear-end collision. Validating who was at fault for the crash is an important step for those in need of compensation after a rear-end collision.

Depending on the reason for a crash, either the vehicle in the front or in the back could potentially be to blame. The following are the leading causes of rear-end crashes in the U.S.

Distracted driving

A large number of crashes related to distraction specifically involved a motorist not paying attention to their surroundings. Distracted driving might mean that someone fails to notice another driver slowing down or stopping ahead of them. Typically, the rear driver is to blame for a rear-end crash related to distraction.


Traffic can be unpredictable, which is why it is so important for motorists to maintain an appropriate following distance. Generally speaking, that means having three seconds of travel time between the rear end of the front vehicle and the front end of the rear vehicle. Those driving larger vehicles or out on the roads during times of inclement weather may need to increase the following distance that they maintain. Some tailgating is part of a larger road rage incident. The rear driver is usually to blame for rear-end crashes that occur due to inadequate following distance.

Improper merging and turning

There are generally two scenarios in which the driver in the front vehicle could be at fault for a rear-end crash, and both of them involve improper merging and turning. The first involves aggressive driving where people slide into a different line of traffic or turn into traffic without leaving adequate space or accelerating rapidly. Doing so could lead to another vehicle hitting them.

The second has to do with the failure to communicate with others while merging or turning. Drivers slowing down or moving through traffic generally need to signal their intentions to others. Their turn signals and brake lights allow other motorists to know what they plan to do next. If people fail to maintain their vehicles or don’t use their turn signals consistently, other drivers may misinterpret their intentions and could hit them.

The party not at fault for a rear-end collision could potentially seek compensation from the driver who caused it. Determining who is at fault for a rear-end collision – and seeking legal guidance accordingly – can potentially help people limit the financial fallout of that wreck.