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25 percent of rear-end crashes have one thing in common

Rear-end car accidents are terrifying because there’s often little you can do to avoid them. You’re sitting in traffic at a red light, for instance, with cars on both sides of you. You see that the car in your mirror is coming up way too fast, but where do you go? With other vehicles on all sides, you can just brace for impact.

So, why do these dangerous accidents keep happening? One study found that driver distraction could play a huge role, as it was present in a full 25 percent of the cases studied.

Driver distraction can take on many forms. A driver could be texting and driving, for instance, or looking back at his or her children in the back seat. For whatever reason, that driver is not looking forward and fails to stop in time.

The study in question was fairly comprehensive, looking at 6,177 “rear-end conflicts.” It’s termed this way because not all of them were accidents. Near misses and “incidents” were also considered. However, nearly 88 percent of the total “conflicts” were in fact accidents.

It is important to study near misses and other such incidents, though, as they still shed light on just how dangerous a distraction can be. Just because the driver swerves at the last second and avoids the crash, brakes screeching, doesn’t mean that’s not a very dangerous situation for everyone else on the road.

Have you been hit by a distracted driver or otherwise involved in a rear-end crash? Make sure you know all of the legal options at your disposal.