In 2012, 349 fatalities occurred in Massachusetts traffic accidents and another 4,384 people sustained serious injuries. Massachusetts Department of Public Safety reports there were 108,379 motor vehicle accidents.
One recent crash in Massachusetts which cost the life of a mother and put a child into the hospital on life support demonstrates the damage motor vehicle accidents can cause to those involved. WCVB reports the collision was a head-on accident. The mother who died in the accident was heading east on Route 20 when her vehicle crossed the center line on the road. She collided with a cement truck, and her vehicle was sent back into the eastbound lane where it subsequently hit another car.
Accidents like this tragic one, which occur head-on, are among the deadliest. Many motorists sustain serious or fatal injuries due to the magnified force from their car striking another vehicle head-on. Motorists need to be aware of where head-on car accidents are most likely to occur so they can take extra precautions to avoid endangering themselves or endangering anyone else on the roads.
Where Head-On Collisions are Most Likely to Occur
Head-on collisions occur in situations when drivers cross over into oncoming traffic, or in situations where motorists travel in the wrong direction on a one-way road, a highway, an entrance or exit ramp to a highway, or a freeway-to-freeway connection road.
Federal Highway Administration aimed to determine common locations of head-on crashes resulting when drivers travel in the wrong direction opposite oncoming traffic. There were a total of 110 crashes reviewed. The researcher revealed 71 out of the 110 crashes occurred on the actual freeway itself. Thirty-one of the crashes occurred on an exit ramp leading off the freeway, as a driver who had accidentally gotten on the exit ramp struck motorists coming the correct direction off the highway. Six crashes occurred on ramps connecting one freeway to another. Finally, two occurred on entrance ramps.
Intoxication and driver confusion, especially confusion caused by old age, are major reasons why drivers end up going on highways the wrong way. One especially common location for wrong-way crashes resulting in head-on collisions is in areas around highways which have a cloverleaf design. The road design puts an entrance ramp and exit ramp in a parallel position and running directly next to each other. Drivers who are making a left to try to get onto the highway must first drive past exit ramps to get onto the road, which increases the chance they will accidentally go the wrong way.
Rural locations are also common sites of head-on crashes, with Safety Transportation estimating 75 percent of all head-on crashes occur on rural roadways and ¾ of all head-on crashes occur on undivided two lane roads. These roads, with only a yellow line instead of a physical barrier to separate traffic, are often sites of crashes when drivers are distracted or intoxicated.
Motorists must ensure they stay sober, follow road signs carefully, and otherwise follow best practices for safety to try to avoid head-on crashes.