Causes and injuries of head-on crashesA head-on collision is one of the most terrifying events a person can experience. When two cars traveling in opposite directions strike each other on their front ends, all of the forward momentum of both vehicles combine, doubling the force of the impact. At high speeds, airbags and seatbelts may not offer enough protection to passengers, causing disabling or even fatal injuries.

Common Causes of Head-On Collisions

Any kind of car accident has the potential to cause harm, but head-on collisions are especially deadly. A frontal-impact collision can happen anywhere a vehicle crosses the center line, but are most likely to occur in areas with speed limits of 35mph or higher. 

The most common negligent actions that lead to head-on collisions include:

  • Impaired driving. Drunk driving is a major contributing factor in head-on collisions, as drivers are likelier to speed and less likely to stop quickly while inebriated. Drivers who are impaired by illegal drugs or prescription medications may also drift into other lanes.
  • Incomplete passing. Motorists who attempt to pass a vehicle without enough room put themselves directly in the path of an oncoming car.
  • Aggressive driving. Speeding, weaving between lanes, and other reckless behavior can increase the odds of a crash and make its effects more severe.
  • Driving the wrong way. Older adults, untrained drivers, or a person unfamiliar with local roads may enter the roadway from the wrong direction.
  • Improper vehicle design. Defective vehicles or auto parts can cause unintended acceleration, loss of steering, brake malfunction, and other errors that cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles.

Injuries Victims May Suffer in a Head-On Crash

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, frontal impact crashes caused 56 percent of vehicle occupant deaths in 2017. Even when passengers in frontal-impact crashes survived, their injuries tended to be much more severe, requiring ongoing medical care and affecting quality of life.

Injuries in a head-on collision may include:

  • Head trauma. Passengers may experience whiplash or a direct blow to the head, causing concussions, skull fractures, and other traumatic brain injuries.
  • Spinal injuries. If the spinal cord is damaged, a victim may lose the ability to walk, use their arms, or breathe or swallow independently.
  • Internal injuries. Compression from a seat belt or flying debris can cause organs to rupture. A victim may need immediate surgery to repair or remove their spleen, liver, or kidney.
  • Broken bones. Passengers restrained by seatbelts may suffer fractures in their ribs and pelvises. Others may break legs and arms as their limbs flail into windows, seats, and other passengers.
  • Scars and disfigurement. Glass from broken windshields, objects flying around the inside of the vehicle, and the sudden deployment of an airbag can all cause traumatic facial injuries. Even with plastic surgery, victims may still have scars or burns on their hands, faces, and necks that permanently alter their appearance.
  • Death. Head-on crashes are overwhelmingly likely to prove fatal for drivers and passengers, and survivors have the right to pursue damages in wrongful death cases.

If you were a victim of a head-on collision, we can help you recover compensation for medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. We will fight for everything you're owed under the law, and we don't collect any payment until your case is won. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation with our car accident lawyer in Seminole, FL.


Paul R. Cavonis
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Injury Law and Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney