"Over-Correcting", The Cause of 10 Deaths in East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/23/02 - Tyler

"Over-Correcting", The Cause of 10 Deaths in East Texas

  Five fatal wrecks on East Texas highways in July were all blamed on Over-Correcting. Sunday's high speed crash on I-20 in Gregg County which killed seven people is just the latest example. The two cars hit head-on at 70 miles an hour. 7 people died. And not much remained of the minivan and SUV. Troopers say the driver of the Explorer over corrected in an attempt to regain control. It's a scene that's been repeated all over East Texas, usually at high speeds, usually resulting in death.

If you're driving 60 miles and hour, that means you're going 90 feet every second. So, in just under three and a half seconds, you will go the entire distance of a football field. That means, on the roads of East Texas, if you make a mistake, there's very little time to react.

Which is why Martha Gilley is trying to give the next generation of drivers the tools to handle just such an emergency. "You don't follow your gut instincts. Gut instincts are going to tell you jerk back on the road, hit that break. Those are the two things you do not want to do."

Gilley is an instructor with the AAA Driving School in Tyler. She tells her students jerking the wheel back to the left will put the car into a fishtailing skid, or worse yet, the oncoming lane. Slamming on the breaks is just as bad.

"Two wheels on pavement, two wheels on gravel, grass, whatever. And, so, the ones on pavement are going to stop first, which will throw you into a skid. Throw you into oncoming traffic perhaps."

Gilley recommends taking your foot off the accelerator, naturally slowing the car to 20 miles an hour. Then ease the car back onto the road. But most importantly, "Don't panic."

Gilley says drivers should prepare for an emergency, such as getting back onto the roadway safely. She says the best way is to find a straight, open stretch of highway and practice pulling onto the pavement at slow speeds.

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