Three Car Collision - Can physics help clarify twin impact?

In summary, the conversation revolved around a 3 car accident where the middle car was hit from behind by the third car, causing it to collide with the first car in front. There is a dispute about whether the first car was hit twice or if the second impact was caused by inertia. The conversation also mentions the legal implications and the possibility of multiple impacts in a car collision. The experts advise seeking professional assistance for a proper analysis and resolution.
  • #1
dats99
1
0
Hi all, need some help... I was involved in a 3 car accident, mine was the middle car. The car in front came to a hard stop and I was forced to a sudden stop. I believe I came to a complete stop very close to the 1st car. Immediately after, the 3rd car behind hit with great force shunting my car forwards. My car had damage to the back, not much to the front, number plate still intact and air bags not deployed. The third car at the back had most damage to the front and air bags deployed. First car in front had minimal rear damage (if any at all).

Whilst it all happened very quickly, the driver in the front car has claimed to have felt 2 bumps. I have no reason to disbelieve this but the insurance company is under the impression that usually the first impact would occur without the 3rd cars involvement and therefore assuming that is how a judge may see it in a court of law...

I am trying to figure for myself wondering if there is a explanation in physics... I believe I was stationary when hit and if its possible to be hit twice from behind... 2 cars at standstill very close, is it possible that the 3rd car on first impact pushes the 2nd stationery car into the 1st stationary car while still having the inertia still moving forward and thereafter a second impact when the 2nd car has moved forward and stopped after the first impact??

As a layman, I have seen this happen in a game of pool but I would appreciate help to explain in physics this is a possibility with cars to shed light on my conundrum !

Thanks
 
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  • #2
Hi. Welcome to PF and commiserations for your problem.
PF tries to avoid dealing with questions about 'accidents' of any kind because we are not a source of authority in these matters. No judge or jury would regard us a more than a talking shop. There are some basic bits of logic associated with Physics, though, so here is my view:
dats99 said:
Whilst it all happened very quickly, the driver in the front car has claimed to have felt 2 bumps.
I think this could be either he heard two bumps or you hit him and then the third car ran into you whist you were 'joined'.
You clearly don't want the second version so you would need to challenge the driver whether he/she felt or just heard the first impact (i.e. you were pushed into the lead car by the rear impact on your car. Either you or the rear driver may not have held your foot in the brake pedal after the first impact - in which case it's anyone's guess what actually happened.
I believe that the law about whose at fault may not always exonerate the lead car, despite popular opinion. However, unless you are seriously prepared to go to court yourself, the insurance assessors usually come to an agreement amongst themselves and present the drivers with a fait accompli.
 
  • #3
dats99 said:
Whilst it all happened very quickly, the driver in the front car has claimed to have felt 2 bumps. I have no reason to disbelieve this but the insurance company is under the impression that usually the first impact would occur without the 3rd cars involvement and therefore assuming that is how a judge may see it in a court of law...

I am trying to figure for myself wondering if there is a explanation in physics...
We don't do crash analysis here because of the legal ramifications, but maybe can answer that hypothetical: yes, there are scenarios - probably several - where there can be multiple impacts for each car from a 3 car collission. Sliding vs rolling, being on or off the brake (or off, then on) can make for a complicated set of interactions before the cars come to a stop.

And not for nothing, but a single impact for the car results in 2 impacts for your head when hit from behind.
 
  • #4
sophiecentaur said:
PF tries to avoid dealing with questions about 'accidents' of any kind because we are not a source of authority in these matters.
We have neither the necessary data, nor can we take any responsibility for possible answers. Please contact a local specialist who has a) the necessary experience, b) can have an actual view to cars and police reports, and c) whose expertise can legally be used in possible lawsuits.

Thread closed.
 
  • Like
Likes davenn and sophiecentaur

Related to Three Car Collision - Can physics help clarify twin impact?

1. How does the speed of each car affect the outcome of a three car collision?

The speed of each car plays a crucial role in a three car collision. According to Newton's Second Law of Motion, the force of impact is directly proportional to the mass and acceleration of each car. This means that the faster a car is traveling, the greater the force of impact will be, resulting in a more severe collision.

2. Can the laws of physics predict the direction of impact in a three car collision?

Yes, the laws of physics can help predict the direction of impact in a three car collision. This can be determined by analyzing the vectors of each car's velocity and direction of travel. The resulting vector sum will indicate the overall direction of impact.

3. How does the weight distribution of each car affect the outcome of a three car collision?

The weight distribution of each car can greatly impact the outcome of a three car collision. A car with a heavier front end will experience more force upon impact, potentially causing it to spin or flip. On the other hand, a car with a heavier rear end may experience less force, resulting in less damage.

4. Can the use of seat belts and airbags reduce the force of impact in a three car collision?

Yes, the use of seat belts and airbags can greatly reduce the force of impact in a three car collision. Seat belts help to distribute the force of impact across the body, while airbags provide an additional cushion to absorb the force. This can greatly decrease the risk of injury or death in a collision.

5. How do factors such as road conditions and weather affect the outcome of a three car collision?

Road conditions and weather can greatly impact the outcome of a three car collision. Slippery roads due to rain, snow, or ice can cause cars to lose traction and increase the likelihood of a collision. Additionally, poor visibility due to fog, heavy rain, or snow can make it difficult for drivers to see and react to potential hazards on the road, increasing the risk of a collision.

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