Preventable or Not?

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Updated Aug 2, 2018

Intersection gets interesting for Doe


Preventable Untitled 1John Doe could not move his tractor-trailer out of a tight squeeze in an intersection before an impatient sports car driver hit his trailer. Was this a preventable accident?


On a warm summer day in the countryside near Pumpkin Patch, Ark., tractor-trailer driver John Doe rapidly was approaching Route 202, where he intended to turn left. Arriving at the intersection, Doe had a green light, so he started to make his turn, but … Gosh dang it! He was blocked by a sports car that was just stopping at the red light on Route 202 and wound up halfway through the intersection.

Unfortunately, the car was driven by a notoriously ill-tempered and uncooperative young adult named Butch Snidely. Doe initially expected that Snidely would back up a few inches, permitting the trapped 18-wheeler to complete its turn. Then, deciding that Snidely wouldn’t budge without dynamite, Doe checked his mirrors, found that he had plenty of room, cautiously backed up about a foot and prepared to complete his turn.

At that moment, the light on Route 202 turned green, signaling to Snidely that maximum acceleration was in order. So, deciding not to waste a few seconds for Doe to get out of the way, Snidely attempted to swing around Doe’s stationary trailer, with his sports car’s pedal to the metal. BLAM!! Snidely couldn’t sneak past, and he clipped the corner of Doe’s trailer.

Later, Doe contested the preventable-accident warning letter from his safety director, and the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee was asked to settle the dispute. NSC immediately ruled in Doe’s favor, noting that he could not logically have prevented Snidely’s self-destructive behavior.