Nothing is quite as embarrassing on the road as rear-ending another driver. In most cases, it indicates an incredible lack of attention paid to one's driving. There are exceptions to this where the rear-ending was unavoidable, but these instances are rare. Most of the time, this very common type of accident can be avoided by taking just a few precautions. There are many different situations in which a rear-ending can take place, and the results can range from no damage or injuries to a significant amount of both. Here's how to avoid the most common types of rear-ending accidents so you don't end up liable for someone else's car repair and medical bills.
1. Watch the Cars in Front of You
This is probably the simplest way to avoid rear-ending someone. You never know when the person in front of you is going to put on their breaks. There may be a slowdown in traffic coming up, or the driver in front of you has to brake to avoid hitting a person or animal, or any number of other reasons. If you take your eyes away from the road for even an instant, you might look up again to see those brake lights on with no time to stop your own car before hitting the car in front of you. Careful attention can prevent the vast majority of rear-ending accidents.
2. Pay Attention to Traffic Signals
Don't let yourself use the car in front of you as your brakes. Pay attention to upcoming traffic signals and signs so you can know if you're going to have to stop. If you're looking at something off to the side of the road or reaching around inside your car without paying attention to the changing lights or upcoming stop signs, you might not notice the line of cars in front of you that have already stopped, and you'll end up running into the last one in line, often at full speed. That's one traffic citation you're not going to avoid if you do this, so watch carefully and prevent the accident in the first place.
3. Drive Appropriately for the Weather
Rain and snow can make hazardous conditions on the road. If you're unfamiliar with driving in either, or if you're driving too fast in these weather conditions, you can end up being unable to stop your car even if you try. Hydroplaning on wet roads or sliding on snowy and icy ones is a side effect of not driving appropriately for the weather. When you slide, you can slide into a ditch, a river, a tree, or right into the car in front of you. Play it safe and drive slowly and carefully in rainy and snowy weather to avoid rear-ending someone.
4. Look in Your Rearview Mirror Before Backing Up
This is kind of like a reverse rear-ending when it happens. Sometimes, you may be backing up your car and run into the front of the car behind you. This is usually a minor accident, since you're typically moving slowly when you're backing up, though it might be a fast back-up resulting in a worse accident in some cases. Don't just assume there's no one behind you, even if you're in a place where you wouldn't expect there to be anyone. You never know when someone will be there, so always look and avoid a reverse rear-ending.
It doesn't take much to avoid rear-ending someone. Just pay attention and use common sense when you're behind the wheel. Practice appropriate road safety and you can avoid a minor or major rear-ending accident and the resulting ticket, points on your license, and even personal injury lawsuit that will likely come with it.