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.