A chain reaction crash happens when one vehicle does something to impact numerous vehicles behind it. For example, one driver spots an animal about to run into the road and taps their brakes. The next driver slows down aggressively to avoid a rear-end accident, and they are, in turn, rear-ended by the two vehicles behind them.
These accidents are especially common in adverse weather conditions. Slick roads can mean that vehicles need longer stopping distances, and weather can be a distraction and a visual impairment. But these accidents also happen on perfectly dry roads in good conditions. These are some of the reasons why these crashes occur in any kind of weather.
One driver makes a major mistake
First of all, one driver may make a critical error that impacts multiple vehicles, such as heading the wrong way down the street. This is such an unexpected occurrence that other drivers may not be able to get out of the way or avoid the accident, so it’s very easy for multiple cars to be involved in a crash – even though only the first driver made an error.
Drivers are tailgating one another
Another common issue involves tailgating. It’s important for vehicles to have 3 to 4 seconds of space between them. When drivers are too close, it reduces their reaction times and makes it more likely that they will strike the cars ahead of them if something unexpected happens.
Drivers are distracted
There are similar issues with distracted driving. A driver who is not texting on their phone, for instance, can usually react in about one or two seconds. That reaction time can double if they are using their phone, reaching three or four seconds. In the study that discovered these statistics, drivers were also 11 times as likely to overlook signal lights if they were distracted. Missing a stop sign or a red light could certainly lead to a chain-reaction crash.
As can be seen, there are numerous reasons for chain reaction accidents. Those who have been injured by the negligent actions of other drivers can seek legal guidance to better understand what their options are, whether they will be held partially liable for their role, etc.