Six teens traveling to high school on the morning of March 19, 2015, went to the hospital with injuries instead after their bus rolled over in Maysville, North Carolina (NC). The rollover accident occurred on White Oak River Road near the intersection with New Bern Highway. According to police, who charged the bus driver with reckless driving, the operator ran off the right-hand shoulder while going through a curve, overcorrected while trying to return to the roadway and caused the vehicle to flip onto its side. All the injured students are expected to recover.
The driver did not appear to be speeding, distracted or impaired at the time of the wreck. What the reported facts of the accident illustrate, then, is the need for even the most skilled and experienced drivers to react calmly when the wheels on one side of their car, truck or bus leave the pavement. The sensation of losing control understandably provokes a strong reaction. Overreacting, however, only creates a more dangerous situation for the driver, passengers and anyone else on the road. Overcorrections after running off the road account for many head-on collisions.
In a heavily illustrated pamphlet titled Over the Edge and Back, the AAA Foundation for Safety recommends several ways to prevent what it identifies as a type of wreck that is twice as deadly as other kinds of crashes. The most important advice from the drivers' advocacy group is to take a deep breath and slow down gradually rather than slam on the brakes or jerk the steering wheel to try to either return to the road immediately or enter the shoulder completely.
Following those potentially lifesaving steps in the shocking moment of realization that you no longer have pavement under every wheel can be difficult. Bus drivers, though, should be skilled enough to resist panicking and overcorrecting. While the wreck in Maysville, north of Jacksonville, certainly could have been worse, it probably also could have been avoided.