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How to Avoid a Secondary Car Crash

Published: Apr 17, 2017 in Car Accidents

A secondary car crash occurs as a direct or indirect result of a previous (also known as primary) incident. Primary incidents are sudden and unplanned and can include anything from a cargo spill to a rear-end collision, to a stalled vehicle. Secondary crashes tend to take place shortly after, and in close proximity to, the primary incident(s).

While secondary crashes can occur anywhere, they are more likely to happen during high traffic congestion, in urban areas, and on highways with at least four lanes. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that 20 percent of all traffic incidents involve secondary crashes, but there are several steps all drivers can take to avoid them.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a secondary crash, contact our experienced Alabama accident lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at (205) 933-1500.

Causes of Secondary Car Crashes

A secondary car crash can be caused by a previous motor vehicle collision or traffic incident that is unexpected and disrupts the normal traffic flow. Based on data from FHWA, the chances of a secondary crash increases by 2.8 percent for each minute the primary incident continues to be a hazard.

Some of the primary incidents that most commonly result in secondary crashes include:

  • Engine stalls or disabled vehicles, which can cause lane obstruction
  • Tailgating
  • Highway debris
  • Spilled loads or cargo
  • Swerving to avoid animals in the roadway
  • Hazardous material spills
  • Distracted driving
  • Traffic stops
  • Rubbernecking, which is when drivers slow down to look at accidents or other traffic incidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents, particularly rear-end collisions and rollovers

Avoiding Secondary Crashes

Drivers can help reduce the likelihood of being involved in a secondary crash in the following ways:

  • Avoid distractions while driving
  • Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front
  • Slow down and move over when you flashing lights up ahead
  • Check mirrors frequently
  • Stay alert regarding your surroundings and any changing conditions so that you give yourself more time to react
  • Scan farther up the road to see if any vehicles are stopping
  • Always try to clearly communicate your driving intentions to other drivers whenever possible
  • Avoid making sudden and erratic movements unless necessary to prevent a collision
  • Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots
  • Avoid rubbernecking

Chain Reaction Car Accidents

In attempting to avoid a secondary car crash, drivers often end up colliding with other vehicles, setting off a chain reaction that can quickly lead to a multiple-vehicle accident. When a secondary crash is part of a multiple-vehicle pile-up on a high-speed freeway, the consequences are usually catastrophic.

Chain reaction accidents are some of the most severe types of crashes because it is often difficult for first responders to access those injured and vehicles have usually suffered multiple impacts. There is hope that the introduction of certain crash avoidance technology, such as automatic braking and collision detection systems, will help prevent multiple-car pile-ups in the future.

How Our Alabama Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You

If you have been injured in a secondary car crash that was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another driver, contact our car accident lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. to find out how we can help. Our Alabama personal injury lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to fight for the maximum compensation available for your claim while you focus on recovery. Call us today at (205) 933-1500 for a free consultation. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our car accident lawyers will travel to the location most convenient to you.