Right turn goes wrong. Was the accident preventable?

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Updated May 24, 2023

During lunch at Nanny's Cast Iron Crock Pot, some of the guys at the far table were arguing about who had the best country-western guitar. Trucker John Doe definitely felt he’d won, having spoken with great authority about the bright and crisp sounds made by his Martin N-20. "Just like Willie Nelson's," he boasted.

Still belching the spices from his serving of slow cooker barbacoa pork, Doe left the truckstop with a steel-laden flatbed in tow, heading west on Route 1. He stopped at a red light, preparing to turn right onto Pooca Parkway with his right-turn signals flashing. When the traffic light turned green, he carefully scanned his mirrors before starting to turn. Hidden from his view was Carrie Thunderwood, whose silver 1990 Mazda Miata was directly behind Doe’s trailer.

Thunderwood also wanted to turn right, but she didn’t want to get stuck behind the plodding ol’ 18-wheeler that blocked her path. Motivated by several sips warm Sprite Zero, Thunderwood drove off the road and onto the grassy corner of the junction in an attempt to head off Doe’s rig before he could complete the turn. But she didn’t make it, and Thunderwood dug her Miata into the side of the trailer of Doe’s 18-wheeled ride. 

Was this accident preventable?

Doe received a preventable-accident safety letter from his safety director but contested it saying there was no way could he have seen Thunderwood clip the grassy corner. Asked to settle the issue, the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee sided with Doe, noting that there was nothing he could have done to avoid being blindsided.