Three people died and six were seriously injured in a major traffic accident involving a 15-passenger van and a large tractor trailer on U.S. 601 in Lodge, South Carolina (SC). The van allegedly pulled out in front of the tractor trailer, according to thesunnews.com.
The tractor trailer wound up flipping over and spilling its load (wood chips) onto the road. Ricky Mitchell, the driver of the tractor trailer, suffered a broken leg, according to wspa.com. Four of the injured individuals are currently in critical condition.
These types of accidents are not uncommon, unfortunately. Two large vehicles where the range of vision is not exactly extensive can create a volatile combination and the end result is tragedy.
According to government statistics, there were over 1,090 individuals killed in crashes involving 15-passenger vans from 1997 to 2006. These types of vans are very difficult to maneuver since many auto manufacturers (like Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet and GMC) use the same wheel bases on 15-passenger vans as they do on smaller cars making them more likely to swerve out of control when trying to make quick movements.
A good guideline to follow if you are operating this type of vehicle and encounter a tractor trailer hauling commercial goods is to give as much space as possible between yourself and the tractor trailer. Why? Because large commercial trucks and tractor trailers have larger-than-average blind spots and require more space to turn and change lanes. A large van has similar structural limitations so providing as much space between each other could decrease the chance of a major van-tractor trailer wreck.
The passengers in this type of case have the most clear cut claims. Whichever driver was at fault, or even if both were a cause of the wreck, the folks in the van as non-driver occupants surely could not prevent the tragedy. I am sorry to hear of this horrible event.