By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
We’ve all taken our eyes off the road for a split second, but that single, distracted moment could lead to one of the most common crashes.
You’re driving in peak-hour traffic. Vehicles stop and start as the road becomes more congested. Your gaze wanders – just for a brief moment – but as your focus returns to the road, the vehicle ahead is much closer than you expected.
You slam on the brakes. Your knuckles go white as you grip the steering wheel willing the car to stop in time. Tyres screech, but it’s too late and you’re met with the bone-tingling sound of metal crunching and glass smashing. Thankfully, you and the other driver are fine, and walk away from the crash slightly shaken up.
Every year thousands of South Australian motorists experience this scenario. In fact, rear-end crashes account for about a quarter (26%) of the car-related claims RAA Insurance receives – 4% of those are multiple vehicle nose-to-tail crashes.
With almost half of crashes on SA roads due in part to driver inattention, RAA Insurance Claims Manager Hayley Cain said it wasn’t surprising that nose-to-tail collisions were the most common claim type.
“Thousands of motorists each year are getting into rear-end bingles, which have the potential to be deadly,” Ms Cain said. “Although external factors such as road and weather can contribute to some crashes, it’s clear we can be our own worst enemy. “Motorists need to stay focused on the road at all times when driving, and keep a safe distance between them and the car in front.”
When travelling at 60km/h, motorists should leave at least 8 or 9 car lengths (3 seconds) between themselves and the vehicle ahead. If you’re going faster, you’ll need to leave more room. Nose-to-tail collisions aren’t the only problem for South Australian drivers, with hitting fixed objects or property the second most common claim made to RAA (15%), followed by motorists reversing into another vehicle.
“Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings, whether they’re driving along the highway or reversing out of a car park at a shopping centre,” Ms Cain said.
Top 10 crash-related claims
1. Hitting vehicle in rear
2. Collision with object
3. Reversing into vehicle
4. Hitting parked vehicle
5. Failing to give way at a T-intersection
6. Unsafe lane change
7. Collison with animal
9. Losing control
10. Both vehicles reversing into each other