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This is Why Columbia Rear-End Accidents Happen

South Carolina auto accident attorneyCar accidents happen regularly within Florence, Darlington, Columbia, Midlands and the Pee Dee, SC area. One of the most common types of collisions is a rear-end crash. Purdue University reports that an estimated 30 percent of total annual motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. are rear-end accidents.

A rear-end accident lawyer knows that there are a lot of different reasons why rear-end crashes are such a common type of motor vehicle accident. Recently, Visual Expert provided a summary of some of the psychological reasons for why these types of accidents happen.

A Psychological Explanation for Rear-End Crashes

Drivers consciously and subconsciously respond to lots of cues on the road. When drivers see a car in front of them, they need to make a decision about whether to hit the brakes or not. Since you see cars in front of you all the time, obviously you don't brake every single time another vehicle is in your path. Instead, your brain assesses the time to collision when deciding what you should do. It does this by considering looming motion.

The immediate time to collision is 1.5 seconds, which means if you are within this amount of space from a vehicle in front of you, it would make sense to stop. However, this is not the reality of being on the roads. Drivers in high traffic areas and in close quarters frequently travel with 1.5 seconds of following distance between them and other cars. Drivers do this because they don't expect that the vehicle in front of them is just suddenly going to stop.

The assessment of time to collision is thus based not only on your visual perception of the looming motion that tells you how close the car is in front of you. Your decision about whether to brake or not is also based on your assessment of the capability of your vehicle as well as your assessment of the options that are available to you.

The problem is, a lot of drivers have imperfect information about some of these important factors. While looming motion lets you see how close the car is ahead of you, you don't really know what your vehicle's capacity is because you likely have never hit the brakes at 60 MPH. With imperfect information, your brain is not able to effectively arrive at a learned response. You may not know exactly when you need to stop and you may not be able to react quickly and automatically when you get too close to another car and need to slam on the brakes.

Because your brain doesn't know how to respond to a vehicle that is suddenly stopped in front of you, this stopped car is called an 'error trap.' Error traps end up snagging many drivers and causing rear-end accidents.

Drivers should try to prevent these collisions from occurring by making a conscious choice not to put themselves in a dangerous situation. This means leaving enough following distance at all times between you and the car in your lead.

Contact Columbia injury lawyers at Matthews & Megna LLC by calling 1-803-799-1700 or visit Serving the entire Florence, Darlington, Columbia, Midlands and Pee Dee, SC area. 

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2010 Gadsden Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone (803) 799-1700
Fax (803) 728-6718

331 E. Main St, Suite 257
Rock Hill, SC 29730

Phone (803) 909-9377
Fax (803) 728-6718