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3 Car Collision

  1. Nov 21, 2012 #1
    Hello I am new here. I am currently working on my masters in Engineering Tech and have looked to this Forum for help before.

    I am posting here b/c I am looking for some help... my husband was in a car accident and was the notorious middle car. The cars in his lane went from 35-40 to 0 pretty quickly and he was hit from behind and hit the car in front of him.

    The weird thing is there were 2 impacts... is it possible that the force from the car behind him caused him to hit the car in front of him, and he bounced between the 2 cars?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2012 #2
    It depends which happened first, did he hit the car in front and then get rear ended? Or did he stop, and then get rear ended and pushed into the car in front?
  4. Nov 21, 2012 #3


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    The first car had to brake from 35 or 40 to 0, then your husband's car collided with the first car, then the third car hit your husband's car?

    I was a passenger in a stopped car (early Honda Civic) that was hit (rear-ended) at high speed. The impact pushed our car, with the brake on, into the car in front of us. The Honda Civic was basically totalled. The guy in front got a dented rear bumper. The car that his us was slightly damage in front, and the driver took my friend, who was the driver, and me to the hospital to get us checked out. So it is possible for the middle car to be propelled by the third car into the first car, if the third car is traveling fast enough, and especially if the third car has more mass than the middle car.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  5. Nov 21, 2012 #4


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    Hi sparent - how is your husband now? I hope he's OK.

    Could you describe what happened in a bit more detail? What was the (approximate) speed of all the cars initially? How far apart were they?
  6. Nov 21, 2012 #5
    The cars were initially traveling at highway speeds around ~60mph. Then there was steady braking to about ~35-40mph, at which point the brakes were slammed to a very quick stop. The last car slammed into the middle car, pushing the middle car into the first car. There was about half a car length between the first and the middle car when they were stopped.

    Thanks for the replies! :)
  7. Nov 21, 2012 #6


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    What is it you are asking? This isn't enough information to go by. Are you asking about your husband being rear ended twice? Yes, that's quite common. Was your husband at fault? Only the police will be able to tell.
  8. Nov 21, 2012 #7
    Yes, that's what I was asking. Is there a physics explanation that could be applied to this case?
  9. Nov 21, 2012 #8


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    We would need information that you don't have.

    Was your husband following too close and going too fast? Did he suddenly slam on his brakes too late causing the collision? Or is that what the person in front of him did, not giving your husband enough time to react? What was the car behind your husband doing? We don't know any of these things.
  10. Nov 21, 2012 #9


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    I remember one time when going around a corner, the person in front of me suddenly slammed on their brakes, I glanced up and saw the person behind me was barreling down on me, oblivious to what was happening, so I swerved into the other lane, which was luckily empty, and the car behind me slammed into the car in front of me and I was safe. Sometimes just paying attention will save you from an accident. It's not the only time that knowing what the cars around me were doing allowed me to make a snap decision that got me out of a collision.
  11. Nov 22, 2012 #10
    :approve: excellent job, although a bit OT, this is very important. The big issue is Situational awareness. Some general who was famous for winning a few battles told us in a lecture that if you are involved in a car accident, it's your fault, no matter who caused it. You should have anticipated that it could happen. Know exactly what's going on around you all the time. Also recommended: OODA loop.
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