A two-lane section of Azalea Gardens Road in Norfolk, Virginia (VA), became the site of a three-vehicle accident that sent four people to the hospital with serious injuries during morning rush hour on June 4, 2014. One of the injured was a 4-year-old girl reported to be in critical condition.




Witnesses said a car that pulled around an SUV in an apparent attempt to pass first ran head-on into an oncoming pickup truck and then slammed into the rear of the SUV. Two adults and another young child sustained injuries, with both of the kids having been passengers in the small car. Alcohol use by one of the drivers may have played a role in causing the crash.

The pavement where the head-on collision occurred is marked with dashed yellow lines, meaning vehicles can use either lane for passing. However, a driver must be very careful any time he or she leaves their designated lane. Moving ahead of slower or stopped vehicles often takes longer than anticipated, so large gaps in oncoming traffic present the only safe opportunities to pass on two-lane roads. Big gaps are sure to be rare during rush hour on a main artery in a large city.

As Virginia personal injury lawyers, my colleagues and I regularly help victims of crashes due to illegal and unsafe lane changes. We cannot offer any guaranteed advice for avoiding head-ons and sideswipe wrecks in such situations, but we know that patience and erring on the side of caution can prevent many potentially deadly accidents.