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Volume 04: A Guide for Addressing Head-On Collisions

Head-On Crashes Kill 5,200 Every Year


About one in five non-intersection fatal crashes involves two vehicles crashing head-on. Of these, 75 percent occur on rural roads and 75 percent on undivided two-lane roads. For all roads, one-third of head-on crashes involve vehicles “negotiating a curve” and two-thirds are related to vehicles “going straight.”


Most head-on crashes are likely to result from a motorist making an “unintentional” maneuver—the driver falls asleep, is distracted, or travels too fast in a curve. Contributing factors may include speed and alcohol use.


  • Keep vehicles from encroaching into opposite lane.
  • Minimize the likelihood of crashing into an oncoming vehicle.

Download this guide: http://gulliver.trb.org/publications/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_500v4.pdf

NCHRP 500-4
Head-On Collisions

Most head-on crashes result from a motorist making an “unintentional” maneuver – the driver falls asleep, is distracted, or travels too fast in a curve. Strategies for dealing with head-on collisions addressed in this guide involve either treatments implemented over extended sections of highway or treatments at selected spot locations.

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Related publications


Head-On Collisions One-Pager


Self Assessment Tool


Integrated Safety Management Process