The driller had worked a long shift and was anxious to get back to the motel where the crew was staying. It was a Friday and the guys would be going out that night. If he pushed it, he could catch them before they left.
His pickup had the horses to make it happen. He punched the accelerator and the truck zoomed past two slower cars blocking his path on the long, flat stretch of two-lane road. He was making good time as he came over the hill and, with a clear path ahead, pushed his speed even higher. When he checked the speedometer, the needle pointed at just over 90 mph.
If he could maintain this speed, he just might make it. He had a good shot—he knew the road well and his truck could handle its twists and turns with the best of them. Plus, he was used to driving fast. He could control his vehicle—what he never considered is that he couldn’t control other drivers.
Looking ahead, he saw headlights approaching from a connecting county road. If he hurried, he’d get to the intersection first and the other driver wouldn’t block his path. He didn’t think it would be a problem since the county road had a stop sign. The driver would have to wait and let him pass.
Only he didn’t.
The car pulled out ahead of the pickup. The pickup driver reached for the brake but there was no time. The collision killed the 78-year-old driver of the car, and left the pickup driver with a broken pelvis and severe cuts on his face and hands.
Like most accidents, this one was avoidable. If the pickup driver had maintained a proper speed, he would have had more reaction time to swerve or hit the brake when the car pulled out in front of him. Even if the collision had happened at the slower speed, the impact would have been lessened and the injuries might have been much less severe.
- Establish policy prohibiting speeding in any vehicle used for company business.
- Hold training sessions emphasizing the need to slow down in hazardous conditions.
- Slow down in construction zones, high-traffic areas and in bad weather.
- Leave ample stopping distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
- Practice makes perfect—point out when the driver is traveling too fast in the family vehicle.
- Don’t schedule family functions for times that encourage the driver to travel faster in order to be part of them.