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I have a 2005 Odyssey, my 3 year old rides in a carseat in the middle row behind the driver seat, an older child sits in the middle row passenger side and an older child sits in the back seat.

We recently moved outside town, so are frequently driving along windy country roads. One lane of traffic each way, and there are a lot of semis and large construction vehicles driving these roads. If one of them were to cross into my lane, would it be safer to hit head on? My instinct would be to swerve to my right, but then wouldn't it hit the side of my car where my kids are sitting?
 

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A head-on collision is the worst you can ever have. Remember that the speed of the collision is doubled (at least) during a head on collision. If you're doing 35mph and the oncoming vehicle is doing 35mph that's a 70mph collision. While none are great options, of course, the ditch, or even a tree would be better than a head-on collision. I'd take a tree at 35mph before a head on collision at 70mph. If you're doing 40-50 then you're talking about 80-100 mph collision during a head on.
 

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John, I may be off base here, but I think with all things equal, it's still a 35 mph collision. If you hit another vehicle of the same weight head-on, also traveling at 35 mph, you'll both go from 35 mph to zero within the distance of the crush area of each vehicle (all things held equal is my caveat here). It's the same as hitting a solid, unyielding concrete wall at 35 mph.

Every auto repairman I've met who has talked about the subject has also said the same thing....whatever you do, avoid a head-on collision. Go into a ditch. Knock down some small trees. Go off-roading into the median. Don't get into a head-on. Avoid it at all costs.

Where it gets truly bad is if you hit a semi trailer head-on. The combined gross weight of that beast can be close to 80,000 lbs., and that's when the 70 mph calculation comes into play (I think that's what you meant, given the OP mentioned big trucks travelling in opposite direction). If both the semi and yourself are travelling at 35 mph and the van or car driver hits that behemoth head-on, the much smaller vehicle goes from 35 mph forward to 35 mph backwards (net 70 mph delta) nearly instantly.

I knew somebody who was driving at 50 mph on an undivided road when a big rig swerved head-on into his lane, also at 50 mph. No time to react, and he went from 50 mph forward speed to 50 mph backwards instantly. 100 mph near-instantaneous change in speed, essentially a 100 mph collision into the Hoover Dam. :eek: Amazingly, he was able to extricate himself from the wreckage and limp away....he said his bell was rung on that one. His Audi A4 was unrecognizable. To this day, despite some brand reliability issues, he won't drive anything other than an Audi. I can definitely see his logic on that one!

lisa, avoid any head-on collision if at all possible. The possible outcomes of any head-on collision are "really bad", "really, really bad", and "instantly fatal".

OF
 

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My instinct would be to swerve to my right, but then wouldn't it hit the side of my car where my kids are sitting?
Two comments:

1. Yes, always swerve to the right. I have read the incorrect advice to swerve left into the empty lane, but if the other vehicle suddenly steers back into their correct lane, you would have a head-on collision, with you at fault.

2. If you are hit even after swerving right, it will be a much less severe corner or side impact rather than a disastrous head-on collision.

Be safe

Dave
 
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