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Car collides with tractor trailer

May 2022

Examples of accidents & crash tests

Violation of right of way

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Sequence of events:
At dusk, the 21-year-old driver of a tractor with trailer came out of a country lane and wanted to cross an inter-urban road. Simultaneously, two cars approached from the left, from the perspective of the tractor. The driver of the first car (1) had time to react and managed to avoid colliding with the tractor and trailer entering the intersection, by performing an evasive maneuver to the left into a field. For the driver of the second car (2), this was no longer an option. The car crashed into the front left-hand side of the trailer.

Persons involved in the accident:
Driver of a tractor with trailer, two car drivers

The driver of car 2 was fatally injured through the collision with the trailer. The driver of the tractor with trailer sustained minor injuries.

The driver of the tractor caused the accident by violating the cars’ right of way. The view was hampered due to the country lane intersecting with the inter-urban road at an approximately 50 degree angle and due to a hedge. The two cars’ approach up to the tractor with trailer involved going round a right-hand bend after which there were around 170 meters of straight road until the collision site. Upon reaching the boundary line, this stretch of road was visible to the tractor driver. Both cars were driving with low beam headlights; it was not possible to determine whether there was a violation of the speed limit. The car’s crumple zone had no effect due to the difference in height between the car and the trailer.

Avoidance measures, mitigation of consequences/ strategy for road safety measures:
The accident could have been prevented if the tractor driver had stopped at the boundary line to the inter-urban road and observed the right of way of the cars approaching from the left. Particular caution should have been taken given the hampered view in the area around the intersection. The car drivers had no possibility of preventing the accident. The site of the accident could be made considerably safer without much effort by reducing the maximum speed limit and improving drivers’ line of sight by cutting back the hedge. The speed limit at the site of the accident has since been reduced from 100 km/h to 70 km/h.

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