A head-on collision on North Carolina’s Outer Banks left a 48-year-old man from Elizabeth City dead and a teen driver from Moyock hospitalized with critical injuries. According to State Highway Patrol officials, the younger driver set the stage for the fatal collision by crossing the center line of the highway.

News reports state that two Ford Super Duty trucks collided on U.S. 158/Caratoke Highway in the Powells Point community of Currituck County. The investigation into the crash continues, but troopers told reporters the teen driver was headed north on U.S. 158 before entering the southbound lanes.


The older driver of the southbound pickup truck died at the scene. The teen driver underwent emergency surgery at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Failing to Keep Right Endangers Everyone on the Road

My North Carolina wrongful death law firm colleagues and I cannot know why the northbound river left their lane in Currituck County. Sadly, we have seen many tragic consequences of other drivers making this mistake.

Crossing into the path of oncoming traffic instantly creates the risk for a head-on collision like this one on U.S. 158 in Powells Point. Even more often, a driver who notices they have left their lane with overcorrect their steering and lose control of their car or truck. Overcorrection tops the list of reasons for hitting trees, buildings and guardrails lining a roadway; overturning; sideswiping other vehicles; and ending up in ditches.

Taking one more step back, leading causes of leaving one’s lane include speeding through a curve, falling asleep behind the wheel and becoming distracted while driving. Driver distractions range from texting and speaking on a smartphone to eating and reaching for a dropped object—each of which takes a person’s eyes nd mind off the road ahead.

The reason North Carolina mandates keeping to the right on streets and highways should require no explanation. Failing to obey that law puts a person at risk for a ticket or arrest for reckless driving.

Like the cause of the crash in Currituck County, no one can know just from news reports whether the teen driver will face charges. If, however, evidence does show that that the survivor of the head-on collision acted negligently or recklessly, the family of the deceased driver will have strong grounds for filing a wrongful death lawsuit.