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  • Causes of Fast Food Drive-Thru Accidents

    Causes of Fast Food Drive-Thru Accidents

Drive-Thru Location Car Accidents Are More Common Than You Would Think

Fast food injuries in Torrance, CA are common. From the turnstyle to the boulevard pictured here.
Causes of Fast Food Drive-Thru Accidents

Believe it or not, one of the top places for auto accidents is the fast-food restaurant parking lot and drive-thru area. What a crazy idea. Since COVID-19 hit, I have noticed increased vehicular traffic at or near the entries, exits, and drive-thru of many fast-food chains around Torrance and Los Angeles. And I have witnessed several rear-enders near a McDonalds’ by my offices in Torrance, California.

But whether it is McDonald’s, Chik-Fil-A, Wendy’s, Sonic, or anything similar, many of these places have played a role in ruining some Americans’ lives and health. And this is not due to the poison they pass off as food. Just by their location and roadway traffic, many places to get food fast are magnets for traffic-related injuries. Please take a second to think about it.

Fast food restaurants are among the most popular in the nation, and even Starbucks got in on the game, surviving piping hot coffee right into your lap. Every day, millions of Americans head to get food from these establishments. Since the beginning of the Coronavirus, even more people have led to their local Burger King or Taco Bell because the pandemic banned in-person dining. Considering the sheer volume of vehicles headed to these fast food joints, these became a significant issue. I am Los Angeles car accident attorney Michael Ehline. I have decades of experience with motoring accidents and have won my clients millions of dollars in damages awards since setting up a shingle.

Our Experience In Fast Food Accidents

Years of experience handling car accidents means that we understand why and how these types of crashes happen, including eating and driving may play in driver distraction. And this is further the point, considering the impacts of low-impact collisions and the light damage they may do to a vehicle bumper. Many Americans believe low-impact crashes are far less to worry about than a significant impact.

However, low MPH crashes can exacerbate pre-existing severe health conditions. Also, someone hitting your rear bumper in a drive-thru can cause you issues such as whiplash, brain damage, broken bones, hairline fractures, and more. Combining these catastrophic factors, you can understand the heightened risk of fast food joints to good health.

Other Causes of Fast Food Accidents

In America, especially in Los Angeles, California, several common types of drive-thru accidents occur frequently. These accidents can vary in severity but often result in property damage, injuries, and even fatalities. Understanding these common types of accidents can help drivers be more aware and take necessary precautions.

Here are some of the most prevalent types of drive-thru accidents in America:

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions are among the most common in drive-thru lanes in our fast food culture. Drivers may be distracted while waiting in line, often catching up on text messages, doing hair, or fixing makeup in their rearview mirror. This can lead to delayed reaction times behind the wheel as the vehicle moves forward in the queue ahead. These drive-thru accidents can be caused by inattentiveness, distraction, or sudden braking and can also be foreshadowed by poor designs and management of the fast food diners themselves.

Pedestrian Incidents

Drive-thrus often have pedestrian traffic, including customers on foot, delivery personnel, or employees outside the restaurant. Pedestrian accidents can happen when drivers fail to yield to pedestrians or when pedestrians do not adhere to designated walkways. Such incidents can result in severe injuries or fatalities.

Sideswipe Collisions

Sideswipe collisions occur when two vehicles traveling in the same direction make contact with each other. In drive-thru lanes, limited space and tight turns can make navigating challenging for drivers without inadvertently sideswiping other cars. Some diners use an upside-down Y funnel that causes sideswipe accidents.

Drive-Thru Lane Departures

Drive-thru lanes are typically marked by curbs or barriers to guide traffic. However, drivers sometimes misjudge their vehicle’s clearance, leading to lane departures. These accidents may occur when drivers strike curbs, poles, or other stationary objects.

Drive-Thru Structure Collisions

Drive-thru structures, such as menu boards, signage, or speaker systems, can be damaged when drivers fail to navigate the lane correctly. Collisions with these structures can cause property damage and may result from driver inattention or misjudgment.

Drive-Thru Pedal Error Accidents

Pedal error accidents happen when drivers mistakenly press the accelerator instead of the brake pedal or vice versa. In the confined space of a drive-thru lane, pedal errors can lead to sudden acceleration or unexpected stops, potentially causing collisions with other vehicles or parking structure moats.

Drive-Thru Line Rear-End Chain Reactions

Due to the proximity of vehicles in drive-thru lines, a single rear-end collision can trigger a chain reaction, causing multiple vehicles to collide in a domino effect, often leading to an attendant or pedestrian getting run over. These accidents often occur when drivers fail to maintain a safe distance or cannot stop in time. It is important to note that the prevalence of these accidents can vary depending on various factors, including location, traffic volume, and driver behavior.

Diner to car service accidentsIn our minds, diners can be about getting off the road for a bite to eat, which puts many Americans and other hungry folks in a different, less attentive mindset. Once in the parking lot or the drive-thru, they may not pay as much attention to the road. Perhaps the role of the changed settings has something to do with it.

Is Driver Distraction a Big Reason?

I think so. Whether inattentively eating, choosing a menu item, or checking their phone, the dynamic changes for many people once in the parking lot. And this goes double for parents with a car full of kids. By understanding these common types of drive-thru accidents, drivers can be more vigilant, practice safe driving habits, and help reduce the risk of accidents in these environments. So drivers beware, entering, parking, and exiting a fast food restaurant requires constant attention while behind an automobile or any motorized conveyance wheel. Of course, this remains true no matter where or what you are doing.

But since more and more people congregate at these locations, statistically, there is an increased likelihood of a low-speed fender bender or running over a child while backing out, for example. Continue reading our site for more info on low-speed or fast-food car accidents. If you need help using a fast food joint or another party for a serious injury or death due to a dangerous drive-thru, we are ready to listen to your side of the story with compassion and attentiveness. If you want to form an attorney-client relationship with us, you will soon learn our combined decades of experience remain second to none. Call us today at (833) LETS-SUE. For press and media interviews, please email

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.