An unsafe lane change and an attempted illegal pass are being blamed for a fatal head-on collision near Berkeley Springs, West Virginia (WV). The wreck involved a Jeep, a car that approached the Jeep from behind and a car traveling in the opposite direction. A passenger in the car driven by the person who tried to go around the turning Jeep lost her life. The at-fault driver, another person in his car and the driver of the oncoming car also sustained life-threatening injuries.
The Jeep appears not have been struck, but it was not at the scene when emergency responders arrived. Survivors told police the Jeep's driver had stopped in the northbound lane of the rural highway in order to make a left-hand turn onto a side street. Photos taken after the wreck show the highway is marked with double yellow lines, meaning no passing is allowed in that area.
Lane changes are always dangerous, and they should never be attempted in places where signs or pavement markings explicitly indicate that doing so is unsafe. My Virginia-based personal injury and wrongful death attorney colleagues and I have helped dozens of victims of crashes caused by drivers who left their lanes when they should not have done so. Whether people are impatient, inattentive or just flat out reckless, the results of steering into the path of approaching traffic can be equally tragic.