Head-on crashes caused 24 percent of fatal collision in the state of Kentucky in 2013. According to Kentucky State Police Traffic Crash Facts, there were 1,457 total head-on collisions which resulted in 47 fatalities. Although the fatality rate is very high, head-on crashes actually caused only two percent of total collisions statewide.
When head-on crashes happen, they are much more likely to be fatal than other types of car accidents because there is much more momentum when two cars strike each other directly. The more momentum, the greater the force of the impact the body must absorb and the higher the chance of serious injuries or fatalities.
Since head-on crashes are so serious, motorists must understand where Louisville head-on collisions are most likely to occur. As drivers get ready to travel for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, knowing the high-risk areas is important for staying safe.
Where Head-On Crashes are Most Likely to Occur
Safety Transportation suggests the most common place for head-on crashes is on rural roads, and on undivided two lane roads. Seventy-five percent of head-on accidents occur in rural areas and 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on two lane roads with just a double line to divide them.
Rural roads are unquestionably dangerous. In Kentucky in 2013, rural roads accounted for 21 percent of total collisions but were the location of 54 percent of fatal crashes. The largest portion of collisions (43 percent) happened in business areas, but only 17 percent of accidents in business areas were deadly.
Head-on crashes can also happen on or near highways. In most cases, when head-on crashes happen on or near highway locations, the accidents are caused by drivers who are going in the wrong direction. Often, these drivers get onto the highway via exit ramps instead of via entrance ramps and they come face-to-face with opposing vehicles. With no place for people to go on highways and with cars traveling at high speeds, a car going the wrong way often collides very quickly head-on with another vehicle.
The Federal Highway Administration took a close look at where head-on crashes caused by wrong-way collisions occur most frequently. Out of 110 accidents FHA carefully studied in which drivers were traveling opposing traffic, 71 of the accidents happened on the freeway; 31 percent happened on the exit ramp; two happened on the entrance ramp to the highway; and six occurred on a ramp providing a connection between two freeways.
Some types of roadway designs make wrong-way head-on crashes more likely to occur. This includes the cloverleaf design. A cloverleaf design puts an entrance and exit lane parallel to each other, and directly adjacent to each other. This can create significant confusion, especially among drivers who are intoxicated or among senior drivers. A driver turning left, especially, must be vigilant because he must drive past the incorrect lane to get to the lane which he needs to be in.
Drivers need to be careful in both rural areas and in highway locations as they travel over the holidays and beyond, so they can reduce the chances of getting into a head-on collision.