Four people sustained serious injuries in a collision between two cars at the junction of State Route 645 and U.S. 501 near Nathalie, Virginia (VA), on July 27, 2014. The rural highways are also known as Acorn Road and L.P. Memorial Highway, respectively. The routes come together at a T intersection, requiring drivers merging from the smaller state road to make a right- or left-hand turn.



Police cited the 17-year-old driver of an Oldsmobile Valero with causing the accident by failing to yield right of way while attempting to enter U.S. 501. The at-fault driver was not badly hurt, but passengers in his vehicle and individuals in the other car had to be transported to hospitals to receive treatment for crash-related injuries.

The collision illustrates two ever-present dangers faced by people who use roads in all locations. The first is posed by potentially inexperienced and risk-taking teen drivers. Insurance industry and federal statistics show that younger, recently licensed drivers are more prone to being involved in wrecks of all types. Also, people riding in vehicles being operated by teenagers are more likely to suffer injuries or get killed than are individuals being transported by older drivers.

Second, all drivers of any age must take turns cautiously. Judging the speeds and distances of approaching vehicles can sometimes be difficult, but it almost always safer to wait for a green light to turn. Failing that, only very large spaces between oncoming cars and trucks allow for turning safely.

My Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I have seen too often how failing to yield the right of way has led to tragedy. We wish the people hurt in this crash in southwest Virginia full and rapid recoveries.