Rear End Vs Head On Crashes: Which Is Worse?

There are around six million car crashes in the United States of America, in a single year.

However, these accidents are equal in their outcomes. So, does a type of accident or collision determine the outcome? Is a certain type of accident worse than another?

Let’s take at two of the most common types of car accidents there are – head-on crashes and rear-end collisions, and examine which of the two produce the worse outcomes.

Head-On Crashes

A head-on crash or collision refers to a situation where two cars or vehicles collide while moving in the opposite direction. Here, the front ends of both these vehicles come in contact with each other.

These are also called frontal crashes.

Rear-End Crashes

In contrast, a rear-end collision or crash occurs when two vehicles come in contact or crash while moving in the same direction. Here, one vehicle crashes into the rear end of the vehicle in front of it.

It is not necessary that the other vehicle must be moving. If you’ve been reading the news on accidents, you’ll know that this type of collision could occur in a parking lot, or at a traffic stop as well.

Determining the Potential for Damage

While determining the worse type of collision, we must first examine the potential for damage. Generally, the damage caused in a given accident is determined by two factors – speed and the vulnerability of the passengers, as created by the point of contact in an accident.


In a head-on collision, the potential for damage is far worse if the two drivers are driving at fast speeds towards each other. In a rear-end collision, the risk of damage is relatively lower, because even if the speed is higher, the vehicles are either moving in the same direction, or the speed (power of impact) is coming from a singular vehicle.

Vulnerability of Passengers

Head-on collisions put the drivers of both cars at peril. Additionally, front passengers are also at equal risk for injury. The breaking of a windshield or the force of impact affects the passengers in the front of the car, more than those at the back of these cars.

Depending on the vehicles involved, one could be disproportionately affected. For example, a head-on collision involving a car and a truck could impact the car and its passengers more than a truck, given its size.

In the case of a rear-end collision, the driver in the front vehicle is less likely to be impacted than their passengers. However, the driver of the rear-end vehicle will face an increased risk of injury due to the impact.

Prevention Is Your Priority

Head-on crashes tend to have an increased risk of injury, given that it usually involves speed and impact coming from opposite directions. However, rear-end collisions have the potential to be just as deadly, in certain circumstances.

What we can safely conclude is that we should all do our part to prevent these accidents. Some are inevitable, but the majority of accidents are avoidable when we obey traffic rules, drive at reasonable speeds, and avoid driving while intoxicated.

Like this article? Do be sure to share this with your friends on social media, or WhatsApp and get their opinion on the subject.


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