A head-on collision in rural central North Carolina on the night of April 14, 2017, left one woman dead and five people hospitalized with injuries. The two-car crash happened in Randolph County, outside of the town of Ramseur.
At around 9:30 pm, according to report, the driver of a Mustang crossed the center line of NC 49 while approaching the intersection with East Randolph High school Road. She died as a result of the crash, while an adult passenger and two children in the Mustang suffered serious injuries.
The driver of the Mercedes sedan struck by the car that had entered the path of oncoming traffic required hospital treatment for injuries, as did and a passenger in the Mercedes. News reports do not include details on the types of injuries sustained by the survivors, and it is unclear how fully any of the victims will recover.
Also unreported is why the at-fault driver left her lane on NC 49. What can be known from decades of research into the causes and consequences of head-on collisions, however, is that the site of this tragic wreck was a prime location. Data analyses sponsored in large part by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials revealed that
- 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on rural roads,
- 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on undivided two-lane roads, and
- 83 percent of two-lane undivided road crashes occur on rural roads.
NC 29 near East Randolph High School Road meets all of those criteria for presenting risks for head-on collisions. Further, the lanes for northbound and southbound traffic are separated only by a set of double yellow lines that briefly widen out into a painted, rather than raised, median strip. With no physical barrier to keep a negligent or reckless driver on his or her own side of the rural highway, small errors can set the stage for fatal crashes.
As proof of this, the Federal Highway Administration has reported that “nearly 20 percent of roadway departure fatal crashes involve an opposing direction collision.” The agency also cites research showing that “most head-on crashes result from a motorist making an unintentional maneuver.”
If the woman who sadly lost her life in this crash is found to have committed an error, her insurance policy will remain in effect until all the claims from the injured victims are resolved through settlements or court rulings. Consulting with an experienced and empathetic Carolina personal injury lawyer will help the people hurt in the Randolph County head-on collision understand and exercise their legal options for seeking compensation and damages.