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Car collides with in oncoming traffic

May 2022

Examples of accidents & crash tests

Potential distraction at the wheel

Car collides with in oncoming traffic

Sequence of events:
The 22-year-old driver of a small car (1) was driving along a federal highway down into a valley, with one lane going in her direction and two lanes for oncoming traffic. For reasons unknown, car 1 veered out of lane in a left-hand bend, crossed over the double boundary line as well as the left lane of the oncoming traffic and collided head-on with an oncoming top range car (2) in the right lane of the oncoming traffic.

Persons involved in the accident:
Two car drivers, a passenger

The driver of car 1 sustained life-threatening injuries. Both occupants of car 2 sustained minor injuries.

Upon inspection of car 1, neither technical faults nor any other external clues could be found that could potentially explain why the car left its lane. The evidence strongly suggests that the driver who caused the accident was using a cell phone at the time of the accident.

Avoidance measures, mitigation of consequences/ strategy for road safety measures:
The accident could have been prevented by the driver of the small car if she had been paying the requisite amount of attention to the road and had stayed in her lane.
Using a cell phone and taking your eyes off the road to operate in-vehicle infotainment components, such as the radio, navigation system, etc., can lead to dangerous distraction, which, in principle, can be avoided by using ergonomically and psychologically tried-andtested forms of operation. This also applies on known stretches of road close to home, which was the case in this example. A lane departure warning system would have warned the driver before the car veered out of lane and thus potentially triggered a reaction that could have prevented the accident; had an effective lane guard assistant been functional around the area of the accident, this could have prevented the accident. The accident was not avoidable for the oncoming car.

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