The physics of a front-to-front collision are what makes these incidents so deadly. Energy is not deflected like it would be in a sideswipe or rear-end impact where both vehicles are traveling in the same direction. Instead, the two vehicles will essentially share the force behind their combined speeds. In other words, if both cars are traveling at 60 miles per hour and strike head-on, the impact is 60 mph. Beyond this basic concept, vehicle weight, weather, road conditions, and other factors may also affect the force of the collision.
Because of how physics affects frontal accidents, one of the most common types of injuries is traumatic brain injury (TBI). The implications may range from a minor concussion to serious, penetrating brain trauma, but these injuries occur due to an extreme blow to the head. The brain may strike against the hard bone of the skull, which can disrupt the normal functioning of the brain.
It is also common for victims of head-on collisions to sustain:
- Spinal cord injuries, which often lead to paralysis;
- Trauma to internal organs;
- Injuries to the lower extremities;
- Bone fractures;
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash or herniated or bulging spinal discs;
- Scrapes, abrasions, and lacerations; and
- Many others.