A head-on collision between a car and a pickup truck left the teenaged driver of the smaller vehicle dead. The other driver involved in the wreck on Virginia’s Eastern Shore on the night of Jan. 9, 2022, survived but was flown to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
A preliminary investigation by Virginia State Police determined that the collision happened at around 9:50 pm near the intersection of Virginia Route 718 and Virginia Route 639. Respectively, the state highways are locally named Savageville Road and Dogwood Drive.
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A VSP spokesperson indicated the northbound pickup truck and southbound car collided while both vehicles were on two-lane Savageville Road. Investigators continue looking into causes for the fatal head-on collision.
One possible explanation mentioned in news reports is speed. A winter storm moved across the area on the night of the crash, so drivers may have had to slow down below the posted speed limit to retain traction on wet or icy pavement.
Keeping Right and Driving in Accordance With Weather Conditions
At the scene of this deadly wreck, Savageville Road is a two-lane rural highway divided by a broken white line. Such pavement markings indicate drivers can change lanes to pass slower vehicles or create a safety buffer for pedestrians and bike riders. However, the applicable state law, section 46,2-804 of the Virginia Code, makes it clear that drivers should stay in their lane and keep as far to the right s possible unless crossing the center line is completely safe.
Specifically, the state statute says
Any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, shall be driven in the lane nearest the right edge or right curb of the highway when such lane is available for travel except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or where right lanes are reserved for slow-moving traffic as permitted in this section;
A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as is practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has ascertained that such movement can be made safely.
Drivers also have a legally enforceable duty to reduce their speed when rain, snow, ice are falling. Going too fast for road conditions can be charged as reckless driving.
If evidence shows that negligence or recklessness by one of the drivers involved in this head-on collision in Melfa, VA, caused the crash, the other person would have strong grounds for filing personal injury or wrongful death claims. In all events, my Virginia Beach plaintiffs’ law firm colleagues and I extend our deepest condolences to the friends and family of the 19 year old who lost his life. We also hope the pickup truck driver fully recovers.