A crash that didn’t have to happen
Our lives are filled with choices; what to eat, what to wear, where to live, etc. With those choices also comes hindsight. We’ve all experienced situations where we would make alternative choices if we could go back in time. Since we can’t do that it’s important to make good choices as often as possible, especially when it comes to safety of our community, ourselves and of our passengers whenever we’re driving.
Recently, a driver swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid a deer carcass on the road in their lane. This happened around 6:10 am in the morning before sunrise. The driver swerved into oncoming traffic and hit head on with another vehicle. Both drivers were injured with non-life threatening injuries, one critically but were saved mainly because of the deployment of their airbags. http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/650273–critical-injuries-in-hwy-6-crash But did this crash have to happen?
At 6:10 am the sun had yet to rise. It was obviously dark outside; dark enough for the absolute need of headlights. It was on a secondary highway where the speed limit was 80 km/h (50 m/h) and at such speed, your high beam headlights won’t always shine as far as you need them to. The posted speed limit is for ideal conditions; on a dry, straight road with good visibility. If that’s the case, why are drivers driving at or exceeding the speed limit while it’s dark?
If the driver was driving a little slower, assuming he still had his high beam headlights on, it would have given him more time to spot the deer carcass on the road, time to reduce speed enough to pass it safely. A sudden swerve was a panic move, mainly since I’m sure it was a last second choice to do so. Why would they purposely swerve into the instant path of oncoming traffic? They didn’t; it was a sudden reaction to an immediate problem. I’m sure they weren’t thinking, they just swerved to avoid in a panic state.
If you give yourself enough time to see, think and respond to problems ahead of you, you can make good, safe choices. One way to do this with poor lighting is to reduce speed enough that will allow you to see roughly 20 seconds ahead of your vehicle. To know this, once you can see a driveway entrance or a fence, begin counting one thousand one, one thousand two, etc. until you reach that said object. If you reach it before 20 seconds, slow down until you can see said object. This increases your ability to see, think and respond once again.
Another possible solution is to change your current headlights. The brightness of headlights decreases over time, plus newer technology improves the brightness of your headlights. This change can help increase your visibility while driving at night; or early morning. Don’t forget to clean your headlights as well. Dirty lenses will also contribute to poor headlight use.
I’m just glad that both drivers will survive this crash; a crash that didn’t have to happen.