Rear end collisions — don’t be a victim or an offender

How to avoid hitting another vehicle

  • Begin braking early for reserve braking power as you near final stopping point.
  • Pay strict attention — Don’t daydream or look away from the road for more than one second. Keep in mind that a vehicle can move a considerable distance in one second. For example, at 40 mph, a vehicle travels 60 feet in one second.
  • Use good vision habits — Don’t crowd up so close that you can’t see ahead. Look through rear window area of vehicle ahead to see the road ahead. Look over the top of car ahead when on hills.
  • Look for things that could cause the driver ahead to stop — The other driver’s problems become your problems only a second or two later.
  • On icy roads, look for a swerve path to the right — Many times on ice you can steer around a vehicle that you could not stop for. Avoid swerving to the left — you’re inviting a head-on. Better yet, you won’t need a swerve path at all if you increase your following distance to allow for road conditions and weather.
  • Be patient — The hurry habit is the beginning of many a rear end mash-up.

Stay alert for danger signals

  • Brake lights on the vehicle ahead — Get your foot off the gas pedal and to the brake pressure point quickly.
  • Diminishing distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead — You’re in a collision course. The vehicle on the road ahead is slowing down or it may be standing. Relate vehicles ahead to fixed objects out to the side.
  • Problems in adjacent lanes — Stay alert for brake lights and slowdowns in adjacent lanes. Expect quick swerves into your lane by other drivers.

How to minimize the chances of being hit

Preventive measures to control rear-end crashes:

  • Know what’s going on behind you — Adjust outside mirrors and inside rear-view mirror before moving the vehicle. Then, scan at least one mirror every 5-8 seconds to follow-up hazards and update driving conditions in the rear. Checking mirrors before slowing down, before and after making turns, and while stopped keeps you properly informed with what’s approaching from behind.
  • Flash brake lights when stopped, moving slowly or preparing to stop. Check brake lights frequently to verify they are working, and maintain clean brake light lenses for clear visibility of other motorists.
  • Signal well in advance for turns, stops and lane changes.
  • Slow down gradually over a long distance to give vehicles following more time and space to react. Never try to beat a green light — always anticipate a changing green light.
  • Keep pace with traffic when road and weather conditions and speed limits permit.
  • Get rid of tailgaters — First, signal in advance and move to the right, if space is available, to let the tailgater pass. If this does not work, encourage them to pass by gradually slowing down to wave them on. Exercise caution when slowing down by flashing brake lights several times, use proper arm signals, and slow down as traffic permits to discourage tailgaters. If the tailgater does not pass or increase following distance, exit the roadway at the first available safe location.
  • Don’t cruise in another driver’s blind spot — If the vehicle suddenly swerves into your lane you may have to brake hard and risk a rear-end crash from following vehicles.
  • Raise hood if your vehicle stalls and can’t be moved from the traffic lane. Then safely do everything else you can to make your disabled vehicle visible to approaching drivers. A stalled vehicle is particularly dangerous at night. If you have flashers, use them. A professional driver usually has a flare or other signal device handy for driving emergencies. Call authorities for assistance.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC APR 2019-389
171-1188 (5/14)