Multi-car collision on freeway
Driver overwhelmed by navigation system
The 74-year-old driver of a car was driving in the right-hand lane of a two-lane freeway at night. As he approached a junction, he slowed down suddenly. Despite initiating emergency braking procedures, the driver of the car behind him drove into his tail. The crash caused the second car to flip over. A third car approaching from behind also collided with the first car, despite initiating emergency braking and taking evasive action.
Three car drivers
The driver and passenger of the car that braked suddenly and the driver of the first car to crash into them sustained severe injuries. The driver and passenger of the third car suffered minor injuries.
The analysis of the mobile navigation system in the car that braked suddenly showed that the driver had already covered 250 km, that the device was running on an outdated set of maps, and that the system had provided instructions to turn off the freeway that did not match the infrastructure at the site of the accident. It is probable that the driver was confused by the misleading instructions and had braked suddenly in order to work out which way to go. The driver of the second vehicle was unable to brake in time because he had either been driving too close to the first vehicle or not been paying sufficient attention.
Satnav systems need to be kept up to date, as incorrect or unsuitable instructions can confuse and distract drivers, especially at complex junctions. At the same time, however, all drivers must take care to ensure that the instructions provided by their navigation systems do not lead them to engage in dangerous driving maneuvers. When planning a route, care must be taken to ensure that the journey does not exceed the maximum distance suitable for the driver’s physical abilities, that regular breaks are taken, and that older people in particular avoid driving at dusk and in darkness whenever possible – especially on unfamiliar routes.
Sketch of the collision position
End position of the two cars primarily involved in the accident
End position of and damage to the car that braked suddenly
End position of and damage to the first car to crash into the braking car
End position of and damage to the second car to crash into the braking car