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In 2018, 174 fatal or suspected serious injury, opposite direction automobile accidents occurred in the state of Washington. Opposite direction accidents are also known has head-on collisions. Three of those 2018 head-on accidents occurred in Spokane and 5 serious injuries were sustained as a result. Head-on collisions are very rare; in fact, it is reported that only 2% of automobile accidents are head-on collisions, but as Spokane head-on collision accident attorneys know, the injuries resulting from these accidents can be devastating. While they only make up 2% of automobile accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, head-on collisions make up 13% of fatal accidents in rural areas and 7% of fatal accidents in urban areas.

Three main causes of head-on accidents

There are three main causes of head-on collisions:

    1. Unsafe or illegal passing of another automobile.
    2. Accidentally crossing the center line between lanes of traffic traveling in opposite directions.
    3. An automobile is traveling the wrong way on a one direction road.


There are a number of factors and combination of factors that are frequently present when head-on collisions occur. See below for some of those common factors.

      • Speed is a common factor in head-on collisions. This is because it is harder to avoid accidents and harder to take corrective measures when driving at high rates of speed.
      • Distracted driving is a major problem, especially when it comes to head-on collisions. Looking down at a smartphone to glance at a text message can cause a driver to cross the center line and when that center line is crossed for even moments, if an automobile is in the other lane, a head-on collision can occur.
      • Being tired can affect a driver’s perception and briefly nodding off can lead to a head-on collision.
      • Drugs and alcohol are a common factor in head-on collisions. When lanes are only separated by a line on the road, any amount of impairment can lead to a vehicle crossing that line.
      • Young drivers (ages 16-25) were involved in 70 of Washington’s 174 serious injury head-on collisions.
      • Inclement weather causing reduced visibility or slippery roadways due to ice, rain, and snow can lead to loss of vehicle control and crossing that center line.

Head-on collision injuries

Even when head-on collisions do not result in fatal injuries, the resulting injuries can be severe and temporarily or permanently debilitating. Injuries sustained in head-on collisions may include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and loss of limbs. Injury victims are often unable to work after a head-on collision while they are recovering from their injuries and when injuries are permanently disabling, injury victims may never be able to return to work.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a head-on collision or any other type of automobile accident, contact a Spokane head-on collision attorney at Russell & Hill, PLLC to discuss your injuries and recovery options. Available recovery may include lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and when fatal injuries are sustained, surviving family members may be permitted to bring wrongful death claims.

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Date published: 2018-02-20
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