Head-on collision with two cars
A head-on collision
is one where the front ends of
hit each other, as opposed to a side-collision
or rear-end collision
With rail, a head-on collision often implies a collision on a
usually means that at least one of the trains has passed a signal at danger
, or that a
signalman has made a major error. Head-on collisions may also occur
at junctions, for similar reasons.
With railways, the distance required for a train to stop is usually
greater than the distance that can be sighted before the next blind
curve, which is why signals and safeworking systems are so
jargon, they're called a cornfield
Note: if the collision occurs at a station or junction, or trains
are travelling in the same direction, then the accident is not a
pure head-on collision.
11, 1837 — Suffolk,
12, 1853 — Pawtucket, Rhode Island — 30 killed.
- September 10, 1874 — Norwich Thorpe,
Norfolk, England — telegraph
clerk's error; 25 killed
7, 1876 — Radstock rail
accident, Somerset, England — catalogue
of errors through mismanagement; 15 killed
- 1892 — Lander,
- February 9, 1904 — Sand Point,
Ontario — 15 killed.
- September 24, 1904 — Morristown,
Tennessee — 113 killed.
- September 15, 1907, Canaan, New
12, 1909 — Gary,
Indiana train runs past a meet point.
- June 19, 1909 — Shadyside,
Indiana train runs past a meet point.
5, 1912 — Ligonier,
Pennsylvania — 26 killed
9, 1918 — Great train wreck of 1918, Nashville, Tennessee — 101 killed.
- January 26, 1921 — Abermule
train collision, Montgomeryshire — failure to observe proper procedures; 17
- December 5, 1921 — Bryn
Athyn, Pennsylvania — 27 killed.
12, 1928 — Katukurunda, Sri Lanka — 28 killed.
15, 1957 — near Kuurila, Finland — 28 killed.
- November 16, 1960 — Stéblová
train disaster, Czechoslovakia: 118 killed.
- 1969 — Violet Town
railway disaster, Australia — dead
driver drives through crossing loop; no ATP; 9 killed.
27, 1971 — Radevormwald, Germany — A freight train and a passenger train
crashed into each other. 46 killed.
25, 1980 — Winsum, Netherlands: Two trains collide on a single track between
Groningen and Roodeschool resulting in 9 deaths. Not clear
if accident "head-on".
- January 27, 1982 — A freight train and an
express passenger train collide head-on in heavy fog near Agra, India, killing
- January 21, 1985 — Gary, Indiana — two South Shore Line trains collide head-on, 85
- February 8, 1986 — Hinton train collision, Alberta — freight train passed red light due to sleeping
crew; 23 killed.
- 1989/1991 — Glasgow
Bellgrove and Newton, Scotland — both SPAD’s with track layout at single lead junctions a major
— Cowden rail
- January 14, 1996 — Hines
Hill train collision, Australia —
Signal Passed At Danger at a
crossing loop causes a head-on
1, 1997 — Hornbækbanen, Denmark: Two trains collide frontally after one passed a
red signal leaving Firhøj station. Both drivers are
- August 2, 1999 — Gauhati rail
disaster — Two express trains collide head-on in. Over 285
people are killed.
- October 20, 1999 — Waihapi, New Zealand — Two freight trains collide head-on after a
misunderstanding of track warrant
conditions by both drivers — one driver killed, one driver
- September 9, 2002 — Bad
Münder, Germany — Two freight trains collide head-on after a brake
20, 2003 — Roermond, Netherlands — A NS passenger train collides head-on with a
1, 2006 — Roslyn,
Pennsylvania — 30 injured.
- August 27, 2006 — head-on collision between
passenger and freight trains 30 km south of Victoria
Falls — 5 killed.
- October 11, 2006 — 2006
Zoufftgen rail crash - head-on collision at Zoufftgen, on the border between France and
- September 12, 2008 - 2008
Chatsworth train collision- head-on collision in Los Angeles - 25 killed, 135 injured
With shipping, there are two main factors influencing the chance of
a head-on collision. Firstly, even with radar
and radio, it is difficult to tell what course the opposing ships
are following. Secondly, big ships have so much momentum
, that it is very hard to change course at
the last moment.
Head-on collisions are an often fatal type of road traffic
accident. U.S. statistics show that in 2005, head-on crashes were
only 2.0% of all crashes, yet accounted for 10.1% of US fatal
crashes. A common misconception is that this over-representation is
because the relative velocities of vehicles traveling in opposite
directions is high. A head-on crash between two vehicles traveling
at 50 mph is roughly equivalent to a vehicle hitting a
stationary vehicle at 100 mph.
Head-on collisions, sideswipes, and run-off-road crashes all belong
to a category of crashes called lane-departure or road-departure
crashes. This is because they have similar causes, if different
consequences. The driver of a vehicle fails to stay centered in
their lane, and either leaves the roadway, or crosses the
centerline, possibly resulting in a head-on or sideswipe collision,
or, if the vehicle avoids oncoming traffic, a run-off-road crash on
the far side of the road.
Preventive measures include traffic
and road surface
to help guide drivers through curves, as well as
separating opposing lanes of traffic with wide central reservation
) and median barriers to
prevent crossover incidents. Median barriers are physical barriers
between the lanes of traffic, such as concrete barriers or wire rope safety barrier
. These are
actually roadside hazards in their own right, but on high speed
roads, the severity of a collision with a median barrier is usually
lower than the severity of a head-on crash.
The European Road Assessment Programme
Road Protection Score ( RPS
) is based on a schedule of detailed road
design elements that correspond to each of the four main crash
types, including head-on collisions. The Head-on Crash element of
the RPS measures how well traffic lanes are separated. Motorways
generally have crash protection features in harmony with the high
speeds allowed. The Star Rating results show that motorways
generally score well with a typical 4-star rating even though their
permitted speeds are the highest on the network. But results from
Star Rating research in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and
Sweden have shown that there is a pressing need to find better
median, run-off and junction protection at reasonable cost on
single carriageway roads.
Another form of head-on crash is the wrong-way entry crash, where a
driver on a surface road turns onto an off-ramp from a motorway or
, instead of the on-ramp. They can
also happen on divided arterials if a driver turns into the wrong
side of the road. Considerable importance is placed on designing
ramp terminals and intersections to prevent these incidents. This
often takes to form of special signage at freeway off-ramps to
discourage drivers from going the wrong way. The Manual on Uniform
Traffic Control Devices
provides instruction on this signage
installation in its Section 2E.50
are where the sides of two
vehicles traveling in opposite directions touch. They differ from
head-on collisions only in that the errant vehicle impacts the side
of the other vehicle rather than the front. Severity is usually
lower than a head-on collision, since it tends to be a glancing
blow rather than a direct impact. However, loss of control of
either vehicle can have unpredictable effects and secondary crashes
can dramatically increase the expected crash severity.
Sideswipe collisions are frequently caused by a failure to control
- *Rail accidents