As Columbia car accident lawyers, we know that one frequent cause of auto accidents is driver overcorrection. The term "overcorrection" refers to an instinctive, understandable (and also dangerous) driving behavior. Let's say you momentarily lose control of your vehicle and drift out of your lane - or off the road. When you realize what is happening, you jerk the wheel sharply, overcorrecting your initial mistake. Often, when drivers overcorrect, they totally lose control of their vehicles: overcorrecting is a common catalyst for run-off-the-road accidents, rollover accidents, and head-on collisions.
A driver's initial loss of vehicle control can happen for a wide variety of reasons:
- Distracted driving. Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, eating, or fiddling with the radio are especially prone to overcorrection accidents. You only have to look away from the road for a second to allow your vehicle to drift out of its lane.
- Drowsy driving. Falling asleep at the wheel - only to suddenly awaken and discover you're running off the road or veering out of your lane - is another common cause of overcorrection accidents.
- Impaired driving. Whether due to alcohol consumption or drug use (including prescription drugs), impaired drivers are considerably more likely to cause accidents by overcorrecting.
But sober, responsible drivers can also make overcorrection errors. It's impossible to get rid of every single distraction: most Missouri drivers would probably admit that they've caught themselves drifting off the road after reaching for a soda, or scanning a playlist to find a specific song. In that single moment of realization, the decision you make can be a crucial one.
Missouri's Operation Stop offers the following advice to drivers in an effort to prevent accidents caused by overcorrection:
To survive, memorize this. EASY OFF EASY OFF... Stay calm and easy. Don't let the momentary feeling of panic take over your better judgement. Take your foot off the accelerator and ease the vehicle back onto the pavement. And keep your foot off the brake. The sudden sound of the tires going off the pavement can be terrifying to the best and most experienced driver. It is how the driver reacts, in what can only be described in a moment of panic, that will determine the outcome of this mistake.
Additional safety resources for drivers:
- Springfield Police Department: Steering Overcorrection
- The Southside Sentinel (Urbanna, VA): Tips to prevent over-correcting
- The News Enterprise (Elizabethtown, KY): Driving danger: Police explain preventing overcorrection
- Daily Motion: Driving Instruction: Overcorrection - the Killer on the Road (video)