On March 28, 2012, a 55-year-old driver lost his life in a car accident. He was driving in Vanceburg, Kentucky when his car left the road. He overcorrected, sending the car across the road and into an embankment on the other side. He was ejected from the car when it rolled over and died from his injuries.
Unfortunately this type of accident is not unusual. Over four percent of the car accidents that ended in fatalities in 2011 were caused by overcorrecting. As the above story shows, drivers of any age may become victims of overcorrecting, but young, inexperienced drivers are the most susceptible. In Virginia alone, 244 accidents in 2011 resulted from teenage drivers overcorrecting when their cars left the road. Drivers’ education instructors to traffic engineers and everyone in between are discussing what may be causing these car accidents and what can be done to prevent them.
Some high school drivers’ education programs are now including instruction on what to do if the car leaves the road. While some only discuss it in the classroom, others are practicing it on the road. One instructor grabs the wheel and intentionally steers the car off the road, then allows the student driver to practice returning to the pavement safely. This exercise is done at varying speeds, first slowly, then gradually adding speed. Another instructor covers overcorrecting in the classroom portion of drivers’ education, stating that it would be unsafe to practice the maneuver at the speed that a typical overcorrecting accident would occur.
In both instances, however, the lesson is the same. If your car or truck leaves the road, take your foot off the gas pedal and continue going straight until you slow down. At that point, find a safe place to re-enter the road and do so slowly with your blinker on when traffic allows. This may sound like common sense, but common sense often disappears when you suddenly hit the rumble strip and find half of your car off the road. The key is to stay calm and react accordingly.
Two employees from the Highway Safety Office and the Department of Transportation believe it is more important to consider why drivers are leaving the road in the first place. The most common factors are driving while under the influence, being distracted, or driving at a high rate of speed. It bears repeating that anyone behind the wheel of a car should be clear-minded, obeying the posted speed limit or driving slower in inclement weather, and should be paying attention only to the road ahead.
Hopefully a combination of additional training and a heightened awareness of the dangers of overcorrecting will help to reduce the number of these types of car wrecks in the future.
If you are injured in a car accident of this type, either as a passenger in the overcorrecting car or a driver or passenger in another car that gets hit, it is important to talk to a Kentucky car accident attorney. Even if it was a friend or relative that caused the crash, a claim or lawsuit may still need to be filed on your behalf to cover expenses you can incur because of your injuries. The experienced KY car accident attorneys at Miller & Falkner can assist you in this difficult situation and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Fatal accident in Lewis County; The Ledger Independent; March 29, 2012
Instructors address teen drivers’ overcorrecting; Lynchburg News and Advance; Jessie Pounds; March 13, 2012