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Over-correcting linked to many accidents

Posted May 21, 2009

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— 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.

Over-correcting linked to many accidents 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.


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  • sggoodri May 26, 2009

    I don't think I've ever driven off the side of the roadway at anything over 10mph, and those times are pretty rare, e.g. to clear an extra wide vehicle coming the other way. If you drive at an appropriately low speed for the roadway width and conditions, and keep your eyes on the road, emergency corrections won't need to be made. And when an oncoming vehicle is using your lane, always brake to a safe speed *before* leaving the roadway.

    I think most of this problem is a culture that just plain drives too fast for narrow roads.

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 22, 2009

    I thought this had been known for a long time. I know I was taught not to over correct because it was one of the most common mistakes made in Driver's Ed during the 90s.

  • pleshy May 22, 2009

    I have never had a problem with this. Maybe because I too grew up driving on country dirt roads before I had a license. I generally chalk up "overcorrecting" as an excuse for people who can't drive int he first place. If you cannot understand what the car is doing from the feed back in the pedals, wheel, road noise, etc, you shouldn't be driving in the first place.

  • kingfather May 22, 2009

    The reason so many people are running off the road can be explained as 1 of 2 occurances which happen EVERY time you drive a 2 lane road. #1: if you are on the inside of a curve, drivers going the opposite way on the outside are lazy drivers, and cut across the yellow line to the inside lane---even in blind curves wheteher they can see some one coming or not. #2 Most of the time, people are driving too fast and the only way they can avoid running off the outside lane in a curve is to cut acroos the yellow line into the inside lane. In either case, the driver on the inside lane is forced off the road to avoid a head-on collision with the driver across the yellow line into his/her lane.It happens every time I drive on 2 lane roads,and most of the time the outside lane driver is going too fast,and has to swerve back into his lane.DOT has started to add to inside lanes in curves to give extra room so drivers can avoid the idiots in the outside lane going too fast

  • jprime May 22, 2009

    People should go to a local autocross event with their daily driver and learn how to handle their car in extremes in a controlled environment. It can help in emergency situations to know how your car will handle, and what it takes to regain control.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning May 22, 2009

    I was taught, in Driver's Ed, that you have to turn sharply enough to drive over the lip of the road, but not so sharply as to veer in to oncoming traffic. Easying on with a low shoulder won't work.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM May 22, 2009

    I was behind a student driver one day and she was literally in the middle of the highway (96, not a major highway but still, it's 55mph, you can get killed). and the teacher was just letting her do it, never corrected her. I was astonished. Only when a tractor trailer came by did she move over, ONLY because he honked his horn, THEN she went off road, then came back on, and not once did this teacher ever do anything, I wonder if she was DEAD! STuff like that makes me not surprised we have so many teen deaths

  • meh2 May 22, 2009

    This is the only state I have lived in where there are no shoulders on most of the paved roads. The sharp transition from pavement to gravel at best is what catches your tires.

    But there is no point in arguing for safer road construction - that's not going to happen in a state managed by corrupt politicians.

  • OhYeah May 22, 2009

    Let's go one step further and find out the main reason young drivers are running off the road and fix THAT problem. Before the reseach begins, I'll bet it's cell phones....texting and talking.

  • horseonthefly May 22, 2009

    I had driver's ed about 7 years ago and my instructor made me run off the road a few times going 55 mph. Then again, I learned to drive on country roads where the lane is not much wider than the car so running off the road is a pretty regular occurrence, especially when towing the horse trailer. Really the trick is to keep both hands on the wheel, or else keep the other one there ready. If you've just got one hand lightly on the bottom of the wheel, it doesn't take a very rough shoulder to take that wheel out of your hands.

    Lambeau - This is not a case of you expecting someone else to do something stupid, it's about expecting when you will do something stupid. We all are human and screw up sometimes, it's just a given. Roads might be a better place it everyone would just accept that and chill out.