Loss of Control Crashes

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments


When I started driving, cars were as big as minivans today (but not as good) and roll-over crashes were common. When I took my driver’s test, one question in the oral part of the driver’s exam was, "How do you control the vehicle and get it back on the road after dropping a wheel off the edge of the pavement?"

Now and then, I hear of crashes on two-lane country roads in which one car suddenly veers across the center line and crashes head-on into an on-coming vehicle or goes into the opposite ditch. I suspect the scenario is something like this: Car A is approaching car B. The driver of A moves to the right to give B more room and inadvertently drops a wheel off the edge of the pavement. Driver A over-controls on the recovery, which causes Car A to veer across the road into the path of car B.

The natural tendency is to jerk the steering wheel to the left to bring the car’s wheel back onto the pavement. We were taught to remain calm if a wheel went off the edge, slow down, and then ease back on to the pavement. If this technique isn’t taught in driver ed, it should be. Moreover, drivers should br tested about it somewhere in the driver’s test and they should know the answer before they get a driver’s license.

Knowledge is essential in any human endeavor. This is most true for drivers, which is why I think they should at least be required to pass the written driver’s exam each time they renew their driver’s license.

Spring is here. The roads are clear and a crop of new drivers will be out on the roads eagerly spreading their wings. Be watchful, folks.

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