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New Jersey rear-end collision leaves two in critical condition

Two people driving on the streets of one of New Jersey's cities suffered serious injuries that are potentially life-threatening after being involved in a rear-end car collision involving three vehicles. New Jersey authorities are continuing their investigation and did not immediately issue any citations; therefore, it remains to be seen whether the common wisdom that all rear-end car accidents are the fault of the driver who hit the back of the other car will apply to this case. After all, there may be some situations in which a driver simply does not have enough time to make a sudden stop, even if the driver is maintaining an approperiate following distance.

In this case, police say that the accident occurred after a driver made a sudden and unexplained stop in the middle of a lane of traffic. Another driver, a young woman, could not stop in time and hit the first driver's car, pushing the car into the oncoming lane of traffic. Once in the oncoming traffic lane, a third car struck the first driver's vehicle. While the young woman was able to get out of her car, the other two drivers were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Particularly on a busy street, it is rarely a good idea to stop suddenly in a lane of traffic. No matter how defensively a person drives, that is simply something that is not expected.

On the other hand, there is an element of truth in the common belief that rear-end accidents are always the fault of the person who hits the rear bumper of the car. Drivers have an obligation to maintain a safe following distance and, perhaps more importantly, need to pay attention and anticipate sudden changes in traffic flow. A distracted driver, even if the distraction lasts only for an instant, can cause a severe rear-end accident.

Source: South Jersey Times, "3 car accident in Washington Township leaves 2 critically injured," Phil Davis, April 19, 2013

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