At 63 the driver of the Element might of had a medical problem (stroke,heart attack) that caused it. Saw many that way from years on the fire department covering a busy expressway outside Chicago. Only the investigation will tell for sure.
Although the Wyoming Highway Patrol hasn't finished their investigation yet I am wondering if they were texting because there were several vehicles in the group going back to Colorado. Or it could have been a tire blow out in the van. All speculation I guess. Very sad. Apparently the small child was in a special car seat in the passenger seat area of the MH where the other vehicle hit.
I have driven this route hundreds of times. Not much traffic on this highway between Meeteetse and Thermopolis.
Do you think that a 63 year old driver was texting?
They were in a Honda Element which is not a van. It is a compact car.
Just speculation, but YES. I live up here. These are very low traffic roads, most anyway. Many of the drivers, because of the low traffic, don't seem to pay attention, like they should, or would it there was heavier traffic, because they are talking on their cell, texting, or whatever. Because it very low population not many police to write cites either. 60 or 70 mph on a gravel road past our ranch is fairly common. These 2 lane roads are extremely dangerous, more so than driving in Los Angeles on Freeways. Plus in Wyoming you drive for hours on 2 lane roads getting to town and nothing but vacant land around, gets monotonous, easy to get tired.
I spent 40 years in LA and almost 30 in law enforcement. Driving on these 2 lane roads in Wyoming is a big concern to me. I drive with my lights on all the time.
* This post was
edited 07/04/12 06:24am by WyoTraveler *
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Looking at the photo it is apparent that the Honda was well over in to the passenger side of the RV when the collision happened. The marks on the road are off center to the right. I doubt if the RV had a chance to do anything to avoid the collision.
Looking at the age of the RV occupants, it appears that the child killed, and the other children injured, may have been the RV owner's grandchildren. What a sad ending for what was going to be a special vacation trip for all concerned.
From looking at the accident scene photos, it appears that the MH had swerved to the left for some reason, maybe to avoid the Honda. The impact was in the center of the MH lane. There didn't seem to be any braking or skids until after impact where the MH left a skidmark with its left side tires that lead off the road to the final resting position. As it is with many head-on collisions, both vehicles swerve into the other lane to avoid each other. Looks to me like the MH tried to swerve left but the Honda caught the right front in a fairly severe angle and spun around and was carried off the road by the MH. This is my humble opinion after investigating these wrecks for 30 years.
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Both vehicles should have had Anti-lock Brakes, they don't leave skid marks.
It makes accident investigation harder these days. But some computers do have memory logs.
I've often wondered about that. They always report "no skid marks" like that's a surprise or indicates that nobody hit the brakes. But I thought the designed in purpose of anti lock brakes is specifically to NOT leave any skid marks. So the statement really means nothing.
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Vehicles with ABS brake systems do leave marks on the road but they are not the continuous black skid marks left if the wheels locked up. It is more of a stutter skid since your wheels are constantly trying to lock up and being released.
The thing to keep in mind with any accident is the reaction time of the driver, which I think they use something like 1.5 to 2 seconds for the driver to even react and try to slam on the brakes. At 60 MPH a vehicle travels 88 feet in a second, so it would probably take a minimum of 120+ feet before the driver could hit the brakes. The same goes for the other vehicle that was presumably closing at the same 60 MPH. That means that if the vehicle crosses over to your lane at a closing speed of 120 MPH, you will not even be able to hit the brakes if the distance is around the length of a football field. 100 yards seems like a long distance when you are standing still, but at a 120 MPH closing speed, that football field distance is closed in less than 2 seconds, and that is just the brake reaction time, not the actual distance it would take to stop.
Driving on two lane roads is dangerous and your life is in the hands of another driver that you don't even know.
Anti-lock brakes still leave skid marks. Normally anit-lock pulses on and off, so you see patches of skid marks. Typically the heaviest skid mark will be when the driver very first hits the brakes. Yes, the skid will be much lighter than without them, but there will still be marks.
Tires get the most traction when they are just starting to break loose. In other words, there is some scuff, but the wheel is turning just ever so slightly slower than the vehicle is moving. Anti-lock pulses the brakes to trying cross that threshold, and toggle either side of it.
Yes, there are some confusing things about this accident we may never know, trying to figure out where the vehicles were and each driver's logic in making the choices they did. We may never know. I will say I agree with those Wyoming roads, that is the area were I ran over a dead deer laying right in the middle of the road, turned him into hamburger. Its pretty easy to zone out, although I was driving at night, which didn't help. I would also say that in most situations, the last thing I would do is hit the brakes. Typically one is looking to swerve. Since hitting the brakes while swerving is not a good combination, my reaction would be to stay out of the brakes, unless I had a lot of distance between me and the danger.