According to the Northwest Daily News, a 17-year-old Pace girl was killed in a two-vehicle crash last Saturday morning. The 17 year-old female from Pace, was driving a 2014 Honda sedan south on State Road 281 at 10:40 a.m. when she crossed the center line and struck a northbound 2008 Nissan SUV driven by a 35-year-old female according to Florida Highway Patrol. A passenger in the 17 year-old female’s car, was pronounced dead at the scene. The Pace teenager and another passenger were taken to West Florida Hospital in Pensacola with minor injuries. The 35 year-old was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital with minor injuries.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those injured, those who died and their families.
I can’t tell you how many accidents I read about where someone crosses over the center line on a rural two lane road and collides head-on with another vehicle. It makes me wonder if these rural roads are made more narrow than urban or highway roadways. According to the Federal Highway Administration, speed is one of the first things considered when evaluating potential negative impacts of lane width on safety. On high-speed, rural two-lane highways, an increased risk of cross-centerline head-on or cross-centerline sideswipe crashes is a worry because drivers may have more difficulty staying within the travel lane. On any high-speed roadway, the primary safety concerns with reductions in lane width are crash types related to lane departure, including run-off-road crashes. According to the Federal Highway Administration, designers of a rural road should take into consideration that drivers on rural two-lane highways may shift even closer to the centerline as they become less comfortable next to a narrow shoulder. At other times, they may shift closer to the shoulder edge and are at greater risk of driving off the paved portion of the roadway (and over potential edge drop-offs) as they meet oncoming traffic.
I do not drive 281 on a regular or even frequent basis but I wonder if any of these factors were taken into account prior to creating this roadway.