A head on collision that occurred just after 9:30 a.m. in Redlands left three people dead and six more injured on the morning of January 19th, 2013. The collision involved a family van and a commercial van, the family van carrying eight people, and the commercial van carrying only one. Of the eight people in the family van, only two were wearing seat belts, a fact which resulted in three of its occupants, two men and one woman, suffering fatal injuries. The men were 19 and 33, respectively, and the woman was 58. The six other people involved were transported to the hospital for major injuries but were expected to survive. In total, it took five ambulances to transport all of the victims to the hospital.
Most head-on collisions occur in non-passing situations, typically on a rural two-lane undivided road according to a Federal Highway Administration.
The precise cause of the collision was under investigation, but news outlets reported that it appeared the driver of the family van slammed on the brakes and veered into oncoming traffic, striking the commercial van. No other vehicles were involved.
An Unfortunate Example
This case just goes to show how quickly accidents can happen that turn morning drives into life changing disasters. It is not clear what the driver of the family van saw in the road that caused him or her to hit the brakes and veer into the opposite lane, but it is certain that nobody involved expected to be part of a fatal head on collision that morning. There is no way to predict the future, but statistics have shown for years that seat belts save lives. No matter how fast or how far a person might be traveling, a seat belt should always be worn in a moving vehicle.
Play it Safe, Follow the Rules
The roadway where the accident occurred was a narrow stretch of Orange Street and lacked a divider separating vehicles traveling in opposite direction. While caution and attention are needed on any road, narrow roads like the one in this story must be navigated with extra care. Drivers travel these roads at excessive speeds only a few feet away from oncoming drivers – the risks are inherent. By obeying the speed limit and wearing a seat belt, the risk of death following a crash is substantially reduced, which is why every posted speed limit should be observed and complied with. When conditions exist on the road or in the environment that would warrant reduced speeds, like a stalled vehicle or a rainstorm, the reduced speeds should be observed until the road or environmental conditions have passed.
As gruesome as the Redlands car accident might have been, unnecessary deaths are caused every year by failure of individuals to practice basic safety habits, like wearing a seat belt or observing posted speed limits. It is not known how fast both vans in this story were driving, but we do know that, in general, following the speed limit reduces fatality risks on the road. When these basic habits are overlooked, irresponsible drivers put themselves and others at risk of serious bodily harm and, as shown the Redlands case, at real risk of death.
Accidents such as head-on collisions leave a terrible aftermath. Surviving victims may go through many surgeries and doctor visits and will require extensive care. Unfortunately, insurance companies are accustomed to offering low settlements which may not cover expenses incurred post-accident. Those involved in a crash should contact an automobile accident lawyer to get the maximum compensation under the law.