A motor vehicle accident can happen anywhere, including here in Los Angeles. But what factors make a crash particularly deadly?

It’s a question that has a number of answers because there are a lot of things that can factor into a fatal crash. By listing some of these factors below, we hope to answer this question for our readers.

Vehicle size. As we have talked about on this blog before, a semi-truck’s size and weight can turn any collision into a deadly one. That’s because even the most reinforced vehicle on the market is generally no match for the 80,000 lb average weight of a typical semi truck. Even an SUV can cause considerable damage to a smaller vehicle, causing serious or even fatal injuries to occupants.

Seatbelts. Most people assume that you are more likely to suffer a serious or fatal injury if you are not wearing a seatbelt. While it’s true that you have a higher chance of being ejected from a vehicle and suffering a fatal injury if you are not wearing your seatbelt, even wearing a seatbelt is no guarantee that you will not suffer an injury.

The sudden force of the human body against a seatbelt in a collision can cause serious damage to the chest, which could lead to fatal internal injuries such as internal hemorrhaging or a punctured lung. Seatbelts also do not prevent someone from hitting nearby parts of the vehicle, which could lead to fatal head injuries as well.

Vehicle speed. Newton’s Third Law of motion states that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” For a speeding vehicle, this means that a lot of forces are applied to the other vehicle and thus to the passengers inside, which is why injuries are almost always more severe in speed-related crashes.

Weather. While drivers here in California don’t usually have to contend with snow or freezing rain that often, they do encounter other forms of inclement weather that can turn roadways downright dangerous. Including all of the factors above and coupled with slick or treacherous roadways, it’s not difficult to imagine how a fatal accident could occur because of bad weather as well.

Sources: Ehow.com, “What Are the Causes of Fatal Car Crashes?” Ho-Diep Dinh, Aug. 28, 2014

The Truckers Report, “Facts About Trucks – Everything You Want to Know About Eighteen Wheelers,” Accessed Sept. 10, 2014