Collision tactics

2 recent fatalities. Similar impact. Car is passing thru intersection. Cross traffic blows thru red light. Car #1 serves to avoid 2nd car and is hit broadside and passenger dies. Both cars are totaled. 2nd incident, driver in 3/4 ton pickup is in intersection. 2nd car approaches from drivers left. Pickup swerves to the right and car hits pickup door perfectly and pickup driver is killed. In both cases, if driver with right of way would have swerved INTO oncoming car, they would have hit them headon or with front of their vehicle and probably walked away with minor injuries. Totaled car but who cares? Driver in right is alive.

These sound like terrible accidents

What is the question?

I dunno. I was taught to avoid a head on collision at all costs. I was T boned on the driver’s side with my 59 VW. I swerved to the right to try and make the blow glancing instead of straight on. Ended up on the boulevard, car totaled, and half my seat missing. Didn’t get hurt except for brused hip, but the girl that was with me bounced against the passenger door and broke her arm. I ended up between two trees and wouldn’t have wanted to even hit a tree head on with that car. I spose that was at maybe 20 mph or so in town. Don’t know what 40 mph or so would have done but find it hard to believe it could have pushed the side in more than half the drivers bucket seat. I always expect someone to come through an intersection though, light or no light, stop sign, yield sign, or no.

I agree. Those of you involved in accidents know your instinctive behavior to avoid contact takes over and everything else becomes secondary. The body’s automatic need for self preservation in over a million or so years of elvolution ( if you believe in that stuff) takes over and you have little control. You have no time to go down a check list to decide which collision is most survivable. Cars are relatively new instruments we have to deal with when our survival reactions are really based upon our natural instincts and don’t include them. The only way IMHO, you can counter this reaction is with lots of training which few of us have. So " I dunno " is the best answer to, how you would react in a collision situation, few of which are exactly alike.

With a lot of people I think brain freeze takes over; even if someone has had training.

There was the story of the off-duty CA state trooper and 3 of his family members being killed during an unintended acceleration incident on his Lexus a few years ago. From memory, the story was that he traveled quite a few miles at 100 MPH on the freeway before crashing.

In that case you have someone who was thoroughly trained in high speed driving and maneuvering and who apparently never considered shifting into neutral, turning the key off, downshifting the transmission, or applying the park brake.

One would have thought that a state trooper of all people would not have been in panic mode for that length of time. The trooper had even made a 911 call while this was going on and carried on a conversation with the dispatcher who had even suggested turning the ignition key off. The trooper continued talking without doing what the dispatcher suggested.

The cross-traffic accident is a very dangerous one. Your safety goodies; seatbelts, airbags, crush zones, headrests all are designed to work head-on. A door has very little crush zone compared to the front or rear. A left impact bashes your head against the window and a right hit breaks your neck. Neither are good.

IMHO, The best action depends on IF you see the twit car running the light and how far into the intersection you are. 1) A stop may minimize your personal damage if the twit rips across your front end. 2) A turn into the twit might result in a corner hit giving a bit more crush zone and resulting in a basal skull fracture (killed Dale Earnhardt) or 3) Turn away and take a rear corner hit. That may be the most survivable.

Any of these are bad. Maybe the best you can do is to make it a habit to look right and left even though you have the green.

Once you realize that you are about to be blindsided, there really isn’t any time to do anything. If you can’t stop or slow down enough to avoid the collision, then I doubt you will have time to turn and hit them head on. Usually the swerve is just an instinctive reaction that has little impact on the outcome.

I tend to look left and right, even if I have the green

I have seen too many guys running red lights, and I would have been clobbered a few times if I hadn’t realized that the guy was going to run the light.

This is why I required side air bags in the car for our teen.

There is no good answer to this, not that a question was asked. Pretty much when you find yourself in this situation, you just try to make the most of it and do the best you can. I’ve been in this situation and time slows down to the point that I could clearly see my airbags deploy even though they’re supposed to in a tiny fraction of a second. You just assess the situation, do what you can, then brace for impact.

Divided highway near us. Grassy median. No barrier. Car crosses median and hits car in opposite lane right in driver door. #2 car tried to swerve away and got hit perfectly. Driver killed. State installed wire median.

99 time out of a 100 it’s much better to try and avoid a collision. I’ll never bet I can figure out how to beat those odds.

and only IF
anyone could concievably react in enough time.

Another action that could save lives is to instantly turn in the same direction as the oncoming vehicle creating an angled collision instead of a t-bone.

But who the heck can react that fast in that manner ?
it’s not second nature reflex action to do that so we’d all have run over that scenario in our minds to hope …hope it’s there when we need it.

I have a theory that time speeds up when a collision occurs. I have to agree with the others here who are basically saying that there’s not much time to put your brain in gear when that other vehicle comes out of nowhere.

Funny, I have just the opposite reaction, on the two major collisions and one major motorcycle accident that I’ve been in, everything went super slow motion for the duration of the accident or until I lost consciousness.

I don’t know if time slows or speeds up but in my experience, in those few seconds, you are totally focused on first trying to prevent it, and then trying to minimize the damage. It seems like you just clear your mind of anything else and focus on the procedure, step one, step two, step three. Like piloting a plane when the engine fails, you just go through the steps to keep it in the air and then get it on the ground. You don’t think of anything else. Try this and try that. Just plain math and engineering. The emotion comes afterward when you ask the guy what the @#%%% he was thinking of.

I remember when I was in high school we took a trip to DC from Minneapolis. Drove all night and were in Pennsylvania someplace. Mom was driving, Dad in the back seat sleeping, and I was co-pilot. Mom falls asleep and hits the grassy ditch with our 61 Merc. Bridge abuptment coming up. I grabbed the wheel and just gave it enough of a turn to pull it back up on the road again. Not enough to roll it, but just enough like a 1/4 turn. Hit a sign post is all and I drove after that. I think you just plain focus and go through all the options in an instant and make your move. No time to yell or scream, the computer just runs through all the options and spits the answer out.

Like keith, time seemed to slow down for me. When I hit the back of a Chevy pickup with my BMW motorcycle the incident only took a few seconds but it seemed like minutes. The last thing I remember before getting knocked out was being about 20 feet away from the tailgate. That last 20 feet apparently went much faster than it felt like.

The same when I wrecked my Corvette. Barely had time to grab the steering wheel and no time for the brake pedal but seeing that pickup pull out in front of me felt like watching a VHS tape on Slo-Mo.

I still maintain that real accident avoidance occurs long before the accident situation occurs. It’s driving at a sane speed for conditions, keeping enough cushion by not following too close or avoiding those situations if you can and scanning while driving.

I will always remember the incident that indicated I was getting to be a much older and safer driver. While stopped to make a left turn in traffic, I noticed a mid summer scantily attired and comely young lass walking down a side walk to my left. The first thing that came to mind was, I had better start scanning my rear view mirror for some young driver whose attention was not on me. Sure enough, a car was coming up from behind at over 30 mph with no intention of avoiding me. I dropped my truck into first and gunned it, accelerating fast enough to avoid the collision while leaning on the horn. This guy finally slowed down and sheepishly grinned as I turned off at the next street. This a sign of getting old.

Any time one of our employees had an accident, the accident was compared to the national traffic safety guidelines. In over 30 years I never got a report back that said the accident was not “avoidable”. I kinda disagreed with a lot of it but there’s always the chance I guess. Sitting at a stop light you allow ten feet before the light and watch your mirrors, etc, etc.

In my case it was dark, I was going about 25 on a through street with blind intersections and the guy comes sailing over the hill and didn’t even brake until half way through the intersection. I have asked myself for 40 years if I could have avoided it somehow if my reaction was quicker but just don’t know. Maybe I actually did avoid getting killed by turning quickly so in that sense maybe I did avoid it. The police seemed to think I reacted quick and did the right thing but it still haunts me because of the injury to my passenger.