Three members of the same family died after a driver hit them head-on in York County, South Carolina (SC), on the night of September 9, 2017. The fatal collision is being blamed on overcorrection, which one driver’s instruction manual defines and warns about as “when the driver turns the steering wheel more sharply than expected, causing the rear wheels of the vehicle to slide toward the outside of the turn. This may result in the loss of vehicle control.”
The deadly head-on collision happened on Church Street in the community of McConnells. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the at-fault driver ran off the road, overcorrected, reentered the roadway out of control and crossed into the path of the car carrying the affected family. All four people in both vehicles died from their injuries at the scene, and the innocent victims included a 5-year-old passenger.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs tracks wrecks like this one in York County. During 2015, overcorrection/oversteering was cited as a factor in seven fatal crashes and 94 collisions that left people injured. Five fatal wrecks in which one or both vehicles crossed a median or a center line, which often happens when a driver overcorrects, occurred in South Carolina during 2015, and 111 crashes with injuries involved vehicles crossing into oncoming traffic.
The driver’s manual mentioned earlier offers this advice for recovering control after going off the right or left side of the road: “Do not panic. Gradually reduce your speed, look in the direction you want to go, slowly steer back onto the roadway.” Other helpful tips include taking one’s foot off the gas and gently braking until the car or truck stops, then waiting until the roadway has cleared completely before reentering the street or highway.
Following these best driving practices may have saved four lives in York County, SC. The surviving family members of the men and young child who died because another driver appears to have panicked after running off the road may be able to point to the at-fault driver’s negligence in order to file and collect on wrongful death insurance claims. Even though the overcorrecting/oversteering driver also died, his insurance policy will remain in effect until all legitimate claims are settled. Consulting with a caring Carolina wrongful death attorney will help the grieving survivors deal with insurance company representatives.