There is a common misperception that the following driver is always at fault for a rear-end crash. In reality, a number of factors can contribute to the cause – or multiple causes – of a rear-end accident. It is, therefore, important not to make assumptions about the strength or weakness of an accident case until it has been thoroughly investigated.
Once the causation of a wreck has been determined, fault can be portioned according to the unique circumstances surrounding the situation. At that point, those who bear responsibility for a crash can be held accountable.
Common causes of rear-end crashes
Rear-end crashes occur for various reasons, but they are primarily attributed to driver behavior and situational factors. These are a few of the most common reasons why rear-end crashes occur:
- Tailgating: Following another vehicle too closely is a leading cause of rear-end collisions.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions inside the vehicle divert a driver’s attention from the road. Failing to pay attention increases the likelihood of all crashes, including rear-end collisions.
- Speeding: Driving at excessive speeds reduces a driver’s ability to stop or slow down quickly when necessary. Lead and follow drivers alike can contribute to the cause of a crash by speeding.
- Sudden Stops: When a leading vehicle comes to an abrupt stop, it can catch the following driver off guard, especially if they are not paying attention or are driving too closely. The lack of time to react or inadequate braking distance can lead not only to a rear-end collision but to a multi-car pileup or a rear-end collision chain reaction.
- Malfunctioning Brake Lights: In some cases, a rear-end crash may occur because the leading vehicle’s brake lights are not functioning correctly. This can prevent the following driver from receiving critical visual cues about the lead driver’s intentions.
The assertion that the following driver is “always” responsible for rear-end crashes is simply not true. Seeking legal guidance in the wake of a crash can help you better understand your rights.