A two-vehicle collision in the eastern Chesapeake sent a man to the hospital and left a woman dead. The crash happened at the foot of the Triple Decker Bridge in the 2600 block of S. Military Highway/U.S. 460 at around 12:15 pm on February 8, 2021.
According to Chesapeake police, the woman who lost her life set the stage for the deadly incident when she ran off the side of the highway, overcorrected her steering while attempting to return all four wheels of her car to the pavement, and veered into the path of an oncoming pickup truck.
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The woman died at the scene. Authorities did not immediately release details about the surviving pickup driver’s injuries. News reports also contain no speculation on why the woman initially left the roadway.
Why Drivers Run Off the Road
Research compiled by the Federal Highway Administration in 2013 indicated that the most common reasons driver run off the side of the road are speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and becoming distracted behind the wheel. Like reporters, Virginia personal injury lawyers cannot speculate on the cause of a particular crash. We must wait for findings from law enforcement investigators.
Still, the FHWA report highlights dangerous behaviors all drivers should avoid. Driver distraction that results in departing the roadway can be particularly risky. The double shock of realizing you have not been paying attention and that you are no longer fully in your lane of travel can easily invoke a panic reaction that results in jerking the steering wheel.
Should you ever find yourself in that frightening situation, safety experts advise doing the following:
- Remain calm.
- Grip the wheel firmly without turning it.
- Remove your foot from the gas pedal.
- Press the brake pedal lightly with the intention of slowing down rather than suddenly stopping.
- Get the car and yourself under control before gently steering the car fully onto the shoulder or, if safe, back onto the road.
- Stop and rest on the shoulder if that is necessary.
A Tragedy All Around
Again, we cannot yet know what happened at the Triple Decker Bridge in Chesapeake until the investigation is complete. All we know for sure is that a family has lost a loved one and another person faces unexpected medical bills along with a potentially lengthy recovery.
My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I send our condolences to the deceased woman’s friends and family. We also wish the injured man a full and rapid return to health.
If police determine that the pickup driver was operating safely and lacked the time, warning and distance to avoid hitting the out-of-control car, the man should have strong grounds for filing a personal injury claim. The woman’s car insurance policy will remain in effect until all legitimate claims are resolved.