General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

If you are about to be rearended, and you see it in your rearview what would you do?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10246points) May 18th, 2010

You are on a leisurely Sunday drive when the traffic light up ahead goes yellow and then red. You stop your car and start waiting for the green light. After a minute you happen to look up and see a car in your rearview mirror speeding towards you with no signs of stopping. You have 7 seconds to act.

Ahead of you a stream of cars is crossing the intersection sporadically going around 40 MPH. You are on a two lane street. The lane to your right is empty. To your left is vacant, but it is oncoming traffic and traffic turning right from the perpendicular street of the intersection.

Now what?

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18 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’m not sure what the speed of the approaching vehicle is but 7 seconds really isn’t enough time (or might be barely enough time depending on your reflexes) to gun your engine and try to steer your car left or right to avoid a collision. I would apply my brakes as hard as I could to avoid being pushed any farther out into the intersection that I already will be by the forthcoming impact. I would also hold my head as hard as I could against the headrest because the upcoming collision is going to want to snap your head backward. Preparing for that will lessen the likelihood of serious whiplash.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would make sure my head was leaning against the headrest and hope everyone else was also, and take my foot off the accelerator

Bobby42's avatar

My grandfather had this happen to him, he survived so that must be good. He put on his emergency break, and had his foot on the break. I know it is difficult to try but I know you aren’t suppose to tense up, your suppose to remain completely calm and loose. If your muscles are tense you are more likely to cause injury to your self. But because you are expecting it I don’t see how you could not possibly tense up. Anyway that is what I have heard- oh and never get out of the car. This kid last year at my school died after surviving an accident because he walked out of his car and into oncoming traffic. Very sad.

Coloma's avatar

I got sandwiched a few years ago, rear ended by a local car dealerships shuttle van and pushed into the car in front of me. No injuries but…my car took a nice hit and I also flung about 16 oz. of coffee all over myself, the dash, windows, floor etc.

Not a happy moment!

The funny part was it was the shuttle from MY dealership so this guy was the one that drove me to and from the dealership while I was getting my car repaired, on him! lololol

tinyfaery's avatar

This happened to me last year, but it was a low speed impact. It was a rainy day, and as I stopped at a red, I looked in my rear view mirror an saw that the guy behind me wasn’t slowing down. I’m not sure what the right thing to do is, but I made sure my foot was on the break and I let go of the steering wheel. The impact wasn’t forceful enough for the airbag to deploy and my car had minor damage. I did hit the car in front of me, as well. No one was hurt.

deni's avatar

lay on the horn while i try to move myself to avoid being hit. i think the horn would maybe get the traffic that is moving in front of me to notice/slow down/stop so that might help, right?

Ltryptophan's avatar

If you have a gun can you start shooting at the guy who is coming at you full speed!? lol

Kraigmo's avatar

I’d put the car in neutral, let my foot off the brake, and turn the steering wheel towards the right

FishGutsDale's avatar

Your better off taking the rear ender as opposed to a T-Bone should you try to move out of the way.

deni's avatar

@Kraigmo @FishGutsDale you guys are so smart. im impressed.

perspicacious's avatar

If you are ready for a new car, hit the brakes.

SuperMouse's avatar

This happened to me years ago, truth be told I sat there and did nothing.

The guy was flying, it was a road with a 55 mph speed limit where a stoplight had just been added at the half way point. I was sitting in my car at this light, saw this guy come barreling toward me, and pretty much froze. He on the other hand, slammed on his brakes and swerved. When he finally came to a stop, he was on the driver’s side of my car and the rear end of his car was even with the front end of mine. He looked over at me, put it in gear, and drove off. I sat there frozen for a minute or two before I took off.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

My friend was in a similar situation, and tried to get out of the car to avoid being hurt, but she only managed to get her seatbelt off before being hit. Bad choice. Now she hasn’t been to work in 3 months because she’s in so much pain.

JeffVader's avatar

Errrr….... clench!

Scooby's avatar

This more or less happened to me about twelve years ago… I was sat in a line of traffic on a slip road off a dual carriage way, I was at the back of the line, I saw a white car heading towards me at speed, I never had seven seconds, maybe less than two!? I just braced for impact, my handbrake was on already so I just pushed my brake pedal to the floor & hoped for the best, she hit me doing about 40 – 45 mph, luckily for me my car was fitted with a tow bar & her car just crumpled onto it, she still managed to push my car forward a good maybe 10— 15 feet, fortunately the line of traffic in front of me was moving off as she impacted me so I just managed to avoid colliding with the guy in front…her car was a right off! mine cost her insurance £1,700.00 to put back on the road…… :-/

john65pennington's avatar

First and foremost, i hope you are wearing your seatbelt. trying to click yourself and passengers in is too late. Second, keep your foot steady on the break to avoid going into the intersection and possibly another accident. Third, 7 seconds is really a long time to react. brace your head against the headrest and push with your feet….hard. you are trying to minimize the effect of the rearend collision on your neck and the rest of your body. i have survived two rearend collisions in this manner.

The real key is mental preparation. to ask yourself, “what would i do, if i knew i was going to be hit from the rearend”? and, make mental notes to yourself and even practice your technique, just in case.

njnyjobs's avatar

I would brace for rearend impact as others have stated, leaning head back, legs pushed down on brake pedal. . . putting gear in Park if time permits. Also, I would pull down on the seatbelt so it locks itself in place without waiting for the impact to activate the locking mechanism. I would also try to steer the wheels all the way to the right so that it moves to the right instead of forward as it gets pushed by the impact, reducing the risk of another broadside impact on the driver side from oncoming cross traffic.

Sharene's avatar

I was rear ended yesterday on a freeway. After having to brake fairly hard I checked my mirror only to see someone coming toward me at 100kph with no sign of braking. I checked the lane to my right, turned the wheel a little in the hope to squeeze between two cars but it was peak hour, the traffic had slowed and there were no gaps.. I turned the wheel back a little and being unsure of its exact position decided to plant my foot on the brake with all my might (didn’t want to risk accelerating and being pushed into the next lane). After the impact my car was just over the line and it was a harrowing twenty minute wait for the police with my 14yo foster son (who has severe autism) next to me. Fortunately noone was injured badly. I think given the circumstances I did the right thing.

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