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Head-on collisions are one of the most devastating kinds of car accidents. Although they occur less often than other kinds of wrecks, the National Transportation Safety Board reports that they are more likely to result in fatalities and catastrophic injuries.
As a result, motorists should do everything in their power to avoid wrong-way crashes. You may not have control over the other drivers on the road around you, but you can certainly take steps to avoid causing a head-on collision yourself. Likewise, if you ever see a car careening toward you and you know how to respond, you may be able to make an evasive maneuver to prevent an accident.
Read on to learn just a few tips for avoiding wrong-way wrecks:
1. Purchase a Vehicle That Has the Latest Safety Features
Cars are becoming more innovative—and more autonomous—with every passing year. Some of the newest safety features may seem like unnecessary luxuries, but many of them actually do save lives.
When it comes to avoiding head-on crashes, for example, collision avoidance systems have proven effective. According to CNBC, researchers who analyzed this safety feature in 2015 found that the rate of sideswipe, single-vehicle, and head-on accidents was more than 10 percent lower for cars that had blind spot and lane departure warning systems.
You may not be in the market for a new vehicle currently, but the next time you are, it is worth prioritizing these kinds of safety features. By the time you do purchase your next car, such warning systems will be even more advanced than they are today.
2. Reduce Your Speed
Speeding does not only make you more likely to lose control of your own vehicle, but it also reduces the amount of time you have to respond should a hazard arise. Traveling no faster than the posted speed limit—or what is safe for the current conditions—can ultimately help you avoid causing a head-on wreck and may even give you enough time to react should an approaching car cross over the centerline and enter your lane.
3. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
If a vehicle does come careening toward you, would you be able to swerve to the right confidently to avoid it? By consistently noting your surroundings, you will be able to make decisive maneuvers in emergency scenarios without hesitation.
4. Ride the Right Line
If an oncoming motorist drifts over the centerline even a little, a head-on crash could result if you are traveling fairly close to the centerline yourself. By riding the right line, though, you give approaching cars more room for error.
5. Get the Other Driver’s Attention
There are dozens of reasons why someone might drift over the centerline. If you can alert a motorist that he or she has done so as soon as you notice the transgression, you may be able to prevent a wrong-way collision.
Honk your horn and flash your lights to get the driver’s attention. Since there is no guarantee that the motorist will notice your warning or make an adequate correction in time, though, you should still be ready to make an evasive move before the approaching car gets too close.
Although the above tips can keep you safe while behind the while, accidents are unavoidable in certain scenarios. For example, some head-on wrecks seemingly come out of nowhere, while others occur on bridges, where there is no shoulder for swerving out of the way.
If a crash is inevitable but you have enough time to make a maneuver of some kind, avoid a head-on collision at all costs. If there are no passengers in your vehicle, for example, that might mean turning the car sideways just before impact. Such an accident could still result in serious injuries, but a head-on wreck would have likely been fatal, especially if you were traveling at a fairly high speed.