Chain reaction crashes pose deadly risk to motorists

Chain reaction crashes, whether at an intersection with a stop light or on the highway, caused by construction, or all too often, by another car or truck accident, there is always a danger that a driver in a vehicle may fail to notice the line of slowing vehicles.

Any crash poses a great risk to occupants of a vehicle, but rear end collisions are especially dangerous because much of the vehicles safety equipment and crash resistance is designed for forward motion and because of the tremendous speed differentials that may occur between the two vehicles overwhelm the "crumple zones" of the struck vehicle.

And when the vehicles is a truck, the force with which it can strike a stopped vehicle, can be devastating. Force is mass multiplied by the speed (acceleration) of the vehicle. Large commercial trucks can easily weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and when traveling at highway speeds carry the force of significant explosive device.

Such a deadly collision occurred last weekend, when a commercial box truck crashed into the rear of a vehicle carrying a man, his pregnant wife and their toddler son. Sadly, the force of the collision was so devastating that their toddler and the infant, who was delivered at the hospital after the crash, both died of their injuries.

The truck driver has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle for his actions, and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash.

The loss for the parents will be tremendous, as they are both forced to cope with the devastating deaths of their children while attempting their own recovery from the injuries they suffered in the crash.

Summer in North Carolina brings construction slowdowns and congested highways, full of vacation travelers. All drivers should avoid cellphone use and texting and remain alert for these situations to prevent these tragic crashes.

Source: wect.com, "New charges for driver in deadly Hwy 17 crash," WECT staff, May 28, 2015

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