2 dead after head-on accident

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The Times Union reports on a tragic accident that occurred on Saturday morning May 9th.  A women was northbound in a Toyota Prius on Zoo Parkway when she crossed the median about 10:30 a.m. and struck a southbound Hyundai Sonata, according to the Highway Patrol.  Both the driver of the Prius and the driver of the Sonata died in the accident.  The driver of the Prius died at the scene whereas the driver of the Sonata died after being rushed to a hospital. A pickup truck also suffered damage in the accident site after the initial crash. The driver of the pickup truck had minor injuries, according to the highway patrol.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both of these women who lost their lives as a result of this accident.

According to American Association of State Highway & Transportation, 1999 statistics from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) indicate that 18 percent of noninterchange, nonjunction fatal crashes were two vehicles colliding head-on. The percentage was the same for 1997 and 1998 data. In addition, these data reveal that

  • 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on rural roads,
  • 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on undivided two-lane roads, and
  • 83 percent of two-lane undivided road crashes occur on rural roads.

The high percentage of head-on crashes on rural, undivided, two-lane roads might suggest that many head-on crashes relate to failed passing maneuvers. However, in nearly all cases, fatal head-on crashes occur in nonpassing situations. Of 7,430 vehicles involved in head-on crashes on two-lane, undivided roadway segments, only 4.2 percent involved a vehicle “passing or overtaking another vehicle” (1999 data). The corresponding percentage for rural roads was 4.3 percent.

This does not mean that passing crashes should be excluded from a fatality-reducing program, just that strategies should likely be chosen to reflect that roughly 91 percent of the vehicles involved in fatal head-on crashes on two-lane, divided roadways are related to vehicles either “going straight” (68 percent of the total head-on fatalities) or “negotiating a curve” (23 percent of the total). Comparable percentages hold for the rural roads.  These statistics indicate that most head-on crashes are likely to result from a motorist making an “unintentional” maneuver—the driver falls asleep, is distracted, or travels too fast in a curve. There may be other contributing factors, such as alcohol use or speeding.

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