Rear-end collisions can cause trauma and serious injuries to passengers in a vehicle. Often during a rear-end collision airbags in the vehicle will deploy; this may cause more serious damage to the vehicle, and more importantly, may result in serious facial injuries for the driver and passengers in the front seat. Unfortunately rear-end collisions occur all too often. Why do rear-end collisions take place? Consider these common causes of rear-end collisions throughout the Las Vegas area.
1. Abrupt Stopping of a Vehicle
An abrupt stop from the front vehicle can make it very difficult for the rear vehicle to come to a safe stop. There are many tourists driving throughout the Las Vegas and Henderson areas who have a hard time navigating through traffic or are unfamiliar with the region. They may abruptly stop at an intersection because they failed to notice a stop sign or hit the brakes sharply when they realize they need to turn or change lanes.
Most often, if the vehicle in front stops, even abruptly, the rear vehicle will bear liability for the accident. The driver of the rear vehicle should always allow adequate following room for the vehicle in front to stop. If the rear vehicle does not have enough room to come to a stop, the driver of that vehicle usually bears liability for the accident.
2. Dangerous or Unexpected Intersections
Driving in Las Vegas can present unexpected hazards, especially for visitors unfamiliar with the area. The streets often fill with traffic, making it hard for drivers to maneuver. Las Vegas has dangerous intersections, where accidents occur regularly—including rear-end collisions.
Las Vegas’s most dangerous intersections include:
- Boulder Highway, Nellis Boulevard, and Flamingo Road
- Charleston Boulevard and Rainbow Boulevard
- Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard
- West Sahara Avenue and Arville Street
- West Tropicana Avenue and South Decatur Boulevard
There are many other accident-prone intersections throughout the streets of Las Vegas, but based on Clark County records, the above have increased risks of vehicular accidents, including rear-end collisions. At intersections, many drivers exercise caution before trying to pull out into traffic. Unfortunately, those drivers can’t always safely merge back into traffic or get through the intersections. If they come to an abrupt stop or start to move through the intersection and then stop due to an unexpected hazard, it may increase the risk of an accident and injury in a rear-end collision.
3. Heavy Pedestrian Traffic
Throughout Las Vegas, many streets see heavy foot traffic in addition to many vehicles passing through the area at any given time. Pedestrians typically have an easier time navigating Las Vegas due the proximity of destinations along the Strip; in addition, Vegas has a rich pedestrian infrastructure that makes navigating the area seamlessly—pedestrians can encounter serious hazards, especially along Downtown Las Vegas and the Strip. On the other side, drivers often have to stop abruptly due to the masses of people clogging the strip; this increases the likelihood of sudden braking to avoid pedestrians in the streets both legally and illegally, which leads to an increase of rear end accidents in the region.
4. Aggressive Driving Behavior.
High levels of traffic congestion, like the traffic congestion commonly present throughout the Las Vegas region, can significantly increase the risk that drivers will engage in aggressive behavior behind the wheel. Impatient drivers have greater odds of engaging in aggressive behavior when they grow frustrated behind the wheel. Traffic jams, delays on the road, and other drivers who might engage in unexpected actions can all increase the risk that a driver will suffer from high levels of frustration. This often results with them choosing to vent their anger by engaging in aggressive driving behavior. These types of aggressive behavior increase collision risk and consequently rear end accidents.
Speeding not only significantly increases the risk of an accident, but also increases the severity of the accident and causes the victims of the accident to suffer much more severe injuries. Aggressive drivers may increase their rate of speed the moment they feel they can, only to discover that the vehicle in front of them has not increased speed at the same rate. Often, those aggressive drivers have a hard time bringing their vehicle to a safe stop in time to miss the car in front of them.
Many aggressive drivers choose to tailgate when they feel another driver is driving too slowly or has wronged them for some reason. They may, for example, tailgate because they feel that the driver in front of them has chosen to slow its rate of speed unnecessarily. Tailgating, however, rarely serves to push the driver of the front vehicle to travel faster. Instead, it often causes drivers to slow down or even panic and slam on their brakes. As a result, the rear driver is more likely to strike the car in a rear-end collision because they do not have adequate time to stop or get out of the way.
Swerving Through Traffic
Swerving in and out of traffic may make an aggressive driver feel as though they can reach their destination faster. In reality, changing lanes repeatedly may significantly increase accident risk and even slow down traffic. As the driver swerves through traffic, they may inadvertently change lanes behind a slower vehicle. If they cannot slow down fast enough, it may result in a rear-end collision.
A driver who swerves repeatedly through traffic may collide with a driver who needs to brake abruptly. While changing lanes, many drivers do not allow adequate room for the vehicle in front of them as they try to squeeze between two cars. If the front driver needs to stop or slow down suddenly or the aggressive driver misjudges the space between vehicles, this can result in a rear-end collision.
5. Driver Distraction
Distracted driving contributes to a high number of accidents throughout the Las Vegas area each year. Driving while distracted can endanger everyone around the driver, since distracted drivers can’t keep up with everything on the road around them. Distracted drivers on the road may not realize that the vehicle in front of them has braked silently. Just a few seconds of distraction can be enough to send the driver catapulting into the vehicle in front.
Distraction can be particularly potent at intersections. Many drivers assume that an intersection will offer a safer place for them to finish whatever activity has their attention. For example, a driver who needs to check their GPS to find their hotel might feel safe looking down as they near an intersection, since they may have slowed their rate of speed or assume that they have plenty of room before they come to a complete stop.
A driver who has chosen to eat while driving might take another bite of their food or have a swig of their drink while they finish coming to a complete stop. Unfortunately, these distractions mean the driver no longer has their attention on the road or any vehicle in front of them. If that vehicle stops sooner than anticipated, it may result in a rear-end collision.
Distraction on the streets of Las Vegas can take many forms. In some cases, Las Vegas itself may offer its own distraction, as the landscape of the Strip beckons drivers to look around. From billboards to performers on the streets, distractions abound that could pull drivers’ attention from the wheel and leave them more focused on other activities.
Visitors to the Las Vegas area may rely on GPS devices to know where they need to go. Many drivers also need to take care of business in Las Vegas, and they may try to save time by checking in on work tasks or eating and drinking in the car, instead of waiting until they reach their destination. All these tasks may take the driver’s attention away from the road, resulting in greatly increased accident potential.
6. Driver Drowsiness
In Las Vegas, it seems as though interested parties can always find something going on. Shows, performances and gambling happen at all hours. Casinos remain open 24/7. You can always find something to do, and it may seem, in some areas, as though the streets are never empty.
Many of the people keeping those hours, however, do not routinely stay up that late. They may have a hard time staying awake as they navigate the streets of Las Vegas. Some of them may have spent hours on the road, arriving late at night, trying to find their hotel before they fall asleep. Others may stay up much later on vacation than they do the rest of the time. As they near their usual bedtimes, their bodies may naturally start to crash. They may fall into microsleeps: brief sleeps that last only seconds, but during which the vehicle remains outside anyone’s control.
Drowsy drivers can’t keep all of their attention on the road, especially with all the distractions of Las Vegas calling for their attention. They may suffer from tunnel vision and slowed reflexes, both of which can raise the odds of many types of accidents. Driver drowsiness can also cause a driver to fall asleep altogether, which could result in the driver’s car plowing forward into the vehicle in front of it in a rear-end collision.
7. Driver Inebriation
In Las Vegas, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol abound. Most visitors over 21 can find alcohol in any casino if they want. Las Vegas also has legal marijuana dispensaries, where residents and visitors can find cannabis. Cannabis, like alcohol, can impair judgment and reaction times, increasing the risk of serious accidents.
While cannabis use is legal in Nevada, a driver may make misinformed or slower decisions while high. If cannabis use leads to their impaired driving, they bear liability for those decisions.
Driver inebriation may cause a substantial change in the driver’s overall ability to function on the road. Inebriated drivers can suffer from impaired judgment and slowed reaction times.
Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have tunnel vision, difficulty focusing, or a loss of control of the vehicle in general. The more inebriated the driver, the greater the risk to everyone on the road around them. An inebriated driver could misjudge the speed of the vehicle in front of them or even, in extreme cases, fail to notice the presence of that vehicle altogether.
Driver inebriation may also increase the severity of rear-end collisions since inebriated drivers can’t respond appropriately when they try to slow or stop behind the vehicle in front of them. An inebriated driver may, for example, slam their foot on the gas instead of the brake, which could mean that the collision occurs at a higher rate of speed resulting in more serious injuries.
What to Do After a Rear-End Collision in Las Vegas
If you get hit in a rear-end collision in Las Vegas, make sure you report the accident to the police and seek medical attention immediately, even if you believe that you did not sustain serious injury in the accident. Once this is done it is in your best interests to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. Evidence can be lost and witness testimony tends to fade over time, so consulting with an injury attorney soon after the accident is essential.
An experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney can help you learn more about your right to compensation after a rear-end collision, including breaking down the injuries you suffered, calculating the compensation you deserve ,helping you establish the other driver’s negligence and how it led to your accident as well as recognizing all avenues to seek monetary and physical compensation.