One of the most common and most devastating collisions can be from a rear end impact. The resulting whiplash injury can leave a victim in pain with ongoing suffering. Often times there could be little damage to the vehicles, but the unnatural motion of your head being forced backward and then snapping forward can do major damage to the muscles of the neck and back, and even the spinal cord.
1. LET TAILGATERS PASS YOU: If a driver behind you follows too closely, do not brake hard in order to scare them off. This can easily end up resulting in a rear-end collision. Instead slow down or merge over gradually and let them go by.
2. KEEP CHECKING YOUR MIRRORS: Check your mirrors more often. Drivers should be checking their mirrors every five to eight seconds, especially when slowing or stopping. When coming to a stop at a traffic light or stop sign, always look in the rear-view mirror to be sure vehicles behind you are also stopping. You can never tell whether the driver behind you is paying attention to the slowdown in traffic.
3. SLOW GRADUALLY WHEN COMING TO A STOP: Never slam on your brakes at a stop sign or red light. Always slow gradually and this will force the vehicle behind you to also slow more gradually. If you brake hard, the driver behind you may not react fast enough.
4. LEAVE ROOM AHEAD OF YOU AT A STOP: When you stop, leave two or three vehicle lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you pull up too closely behind the vehicle in front, you have locked yourself into a potential danger zone, eliminating any options of escape. Giving yourself room will give that onrushing vehicle a little more braking space.
5. MAKE SURE YOUR BRAKE LIGHTS ARE WORKING: Check your brake lights frequently. A fuse can blow and leave your car without any brake lights. Drivers rely on that signal to warn them you are stopping. Any burned out bulb should be replaced promptly.
6. BE AWARE OF THE TRAFFIC AHEAD: Look farther up the road to spot traffic stopping long before the vehicle in front of you slams on its brakes. This will give you the time to brake sooner and slower, which will force the vehicles behind you to brake sooner, minimizing drivers behind you panic-braking and possibly plowing into you.
7. LOOK FOR PLACES TO PULL OFF: Look for shoulder of the road, side walk, etc. Most drivers will simply push on their brake harder when being struck from behind in an instinctual reaction to a crash. It is unfortunately the wrong response. Be prepared to accelerate and steer to where you want to go.