Over-correcting linked to many accidents
Posted May 21, 2009
Raleigh, N.C. — For drivers whose vehicles have veered off the side of the road, getting back on their way can be a matter of life or death, especially for young, inexperienced drivers.
In January, 16-year-old Joseph Gerald Hart died after being in a head-on crash with a delivery truck on Tryon Road. He had run off the road and over-corrected trying to get back on, police said.
A similar situation occurred in November 2007, when Joel Duran, 16, ran off Interstate 40 in Raleigh. He over-corrected and flipped the vehicle. His passengers Elizabeth Arch, 23, of Raleigh, and Duran's cousin, Zepherino Duran, 17, were ejected from the SUV. Arch was killed, and Zepherino Duran was critically injured.
Duran is charged with manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
Teen drivers urged to practice road correction
State Highway Patrol Capt. Everett Clendenin said officers see the “tendency to overreact,” especially from teenage drivers in these situations.
“This is something every young driver should have to experience, so that they’ll know how to react when they face this situation. It’s not a matter of it, it’s when they face it,” Clendenin said.
The Highway Patrol considers reentering the highway an important maneuver. Troopers are brought to a special track on a regular basis just to practice for those types of situations.
“We want to…get the officer in the mindset to be able to multitask in that vehicle,” driving instructor Sgt. Johnny Blackman said.
The goal is to be able to help officers be able to keep that mindset when going off the road and function without panicking, Blackman said.
In theory, the recovery is basic: stay calm, decelerate, don't brake, then ease back onto the roadway. But add high speed to the equation, or other driver distractions, and any advance training could save a life, officers said.
After recent teen traffic deaths, Jordan Driving School has started to give students hands on experience in off-road recovery.
“We’re not going to do it at fast speeds. We’re going to try to do it below 25 miles an hour, but they will have had the experience of doing it,” said Lorraine Jordan, of Jordan Driving School.
The Highway Patrol said that type of experience will come in handy.
Troopers said over-correcting is also a problem for other drivers.
On Jan. 5, school bus driver Trumeka Deon Wilson, 28, hit a Jeep Cherokee after police say she over-corrected. The wreck killed Lincoln Ross Woods, 25, the driver of the SUV.
Wilson was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
Johnston County deputies say a teenager died this past Monday after over correcting and running off the road.