What Is the Ripple Effect in a Rear End Car Collision?

by Robert Moore

Car accidents are never fun and you almost never see them coming. Rear end collisions are the most common, and will likely leave you and your vehicle in some pain. Who knows what the guy behind you is doing; texting, looking around or maybe eating, but it doesn't matter because in about three seconds he is going to slam the front end of his vehicle into yours, and the effects can last for a long time to come. This rear end collision may total your car and will likely cause some injury, but what actually happens in a rear end collision shows us just how deadly the automobile can be.

Accidents in General

The dynamics of what a vehicle does during an accident depends solely on the quality of the vehicle, and the speed of each vehicle involved. If your t-boned driving through an intersection you will find that your vehicle is obviously pushed to the opposite side of the collision point, and at this point you as the driver is nothing more than a rag doll until the who fiasco is over. In a front end collision, dependent on speed, its like both vehicles slamming into a solid brick wall at the same time. No matter what type of accident your involved in, some momentum is transferred from the vehicle going faster to the vehicle that is actually being hit, and that is what makes rear end collisions so dangerous.

Effects on The Body

In a rear end collision, you will find the driver that causes the accident will probably sustain less injury than the other driver. First of all the driver causing the accident will likely apply the brakes just before impact, which already has their body in a forward motion as their vehicle leans forward under heavy braking. If your unlucky enough the be the unsuspecting driver at the intersection upon collision, your head and body are instantly flung back into the seat similar to what happens during heavy acceleration. As natural reaction has it, you will slam on your brakes and your body will instantaneously begin to travel the forward instead of backward, creating the whiplash effect.

Effects on The Car

Even during a light impact rear end collision the damage to your vehicle can be devastating. Your car may be able to be repaired, but these repairs can sometimes bring down the safety of the vehicle. Every car manufacturer designs the frame of your vehicle, whether if be full frame or unibody, to absorb impact and crumble at certain areas. Auto repair has come a long way in restoring bend or misaligned frames, but once a frame has been changed it will never be as strong as it once was. A rear end collision is felt through the entire vehicle and can cause structural damaged in other parts of the vehicle that may be over looked or missed upon safety inspections.

The Ripple Effect

The ripple effect, in a sense is the shock wave that transfers through the structure of your vehicle much like that seen from large explosions. This ripple effect can change the precise location of body mounts on full frame vehicles and chassis connections on all vehicles. Some vehicles that are repaired and cleared to drive after a rear end collisions will likely exhibit light tweaking to the frame that can through off wheel alignments and the center of gravity. Air bag deployment sensors are located on frame points through out the vehicle. If the frame isn't properly restored and shows even the slightest amount of misalignment, air bags may not deploy in the event of another accident. Even the slightest bit of damage from the collision can put yourself and your passengers in danger, so it is a good idea to have your vehicles frame and structure inspected and repaired by a shop that uses specialized laser measuring equipment.

About the Author

Robert Moore started writing professionally in 2002. His career started has head writer and Web designer for VFW post 1224 in Hamburg, Michigan. He has prepared business plans, proposals and grant requests. Moore is a state of Michigan-certified mechanic and is pursuing an Associate of Arts in automotive technology from Lansing Community College.