Two elderly passengers riding in a minivan lost their lives on May 6, 2014, when their vehicle was struck by a lumber truck in South Mills, North Carolina (NC). Reports indicate the passenger van was turning left onto U.S. 17 from Main Street. While the fatal crash occurred in Camden County, the deceased individuals had lived in neighboring Perquimans County.



The truck driver also suffered injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital following the wreck. Police did not immediately release details on which driver caused the accident.

Regardless of whether the trucker or the van driver is found to be at fault, the deadly crash illustrates three dangers people behind the wheels of any vehicle must keep in mind. First, any left-hand turn must be done cautiously. The intersection where this wreck occurred is controlled by a stop sign and a yield sign. Traffic from both directions would have responsibilities for watching out for other vehicles.

Second, rural highways pose particular risks. Narrow lanes, nonexistent shoulders, rare or absent street lights, and high speeds often combine to make crashes difficult to avoid. Last, any collision with a big rig usually causes life-threatening injuries, and often death, to people in smaller vehicles. Car, van and motorcycle operators need to yield to large commercial trucks bearing down on them when possible, even if signs and traffic lights give them right of way. The sheer weight of large trucks can make slowing and stopping quickly impossible for truckers.