Rear-end collisions represent a significant percentage of auto accidents, often resulting in serious injury or fatalities. However, researchers note that many of these incidents are also easily preventable.

Explore the factors that contribute to rear-end car accidents to reduce the risk of involvement in this type of crash.

Distracted driving

As smartphones prove to be an irresistible distraction for many drivers, rear-end collisions are common when a motorist’s attention leaves the road. In 2015, the Washington Post reported that distraction played a role in 87% of rear-end accidents. These distractions can take the form of texting behind the wheel, switching radio stations or playlists, eating or having a phone or in-person conversation that takes the mind off driving.

Aggressive actions

Rear-end collisions are often related to dangerous actions by aggressive drivers. Examples include following too closely behind another driver (tailgating), slamming on the brakes, cutting off another vehicle or driving faster than the speed limit.

Poor weather conditions

As with other types of accidents, poor weather also contributes to rear-end collisions. Drivers may lose control of their vehicle and be unable to stop when they encounter standing water, ice, snow, slush or other unfavorable surface conditions.

Driving under the influence

Drivers who use drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel are significantly more likely to cause all types of accidents, including rear-end collisions. They may swerve into another car from behind or fail to stop when approaching a vehicle ahead.

Those who experience a serious injury in a rear-end accident may be eligible for financial damages to cover medical bills and associated costs. Whiplash, one of the most common injuries in this type of accident, causes pain and limited neck movement because of damage to the soft tissues in that area. Injuries to the spinal cord, back muscles and joints can also occur. When a driver or passenger experiences impact to the head in a rear-end accident, he or she may suffer a traumatic brain injury.