It seems like California State Highway 138 has many serious head-on collisions every year. On September 29, 2014, around 8:45 a.m. two vehicles collided in a head-on collision west of the I-15 crossing with Highway 138. According to the California Highway Patrol, four people were seriously injured in the collision. One vehicle had a single occupant, while the other vehicle had a driver and two passengers. One of the vehicles, an SUV, left the road following the collision and came to rest many yards away from the location of the collision. It was reported that the SUV driver suffered extremely serious, possibly life-threatening injuries. The three other victims were transported to local emergency rooms, also with serious injuries.
There was no report at the time of this writing as to the cause of the accident. However, head on collisions must occur when one or both drivers cross a center roadway divider improperly. This might occur when someone is attempting to pass a slower vehicle and they enter the oncoming lane of traffic with an insufficient distance between oncoming vehicle to safely make the pass. Alternatively, one or more vehicles may stray into the oncoming traffic because of driver fatigue, intoxication, an emergency condition, a slick roadway, a medical condition or an intentional act to cause harm of death. No matter how one of more vehicles cross that center divider, the results can be devastating. Consider the fact that a head collision is made at the combined speed of both vehicles. For example, driver A is traveling at 50 mph, while driver B is traveling at 80 mph. If this was a rear end collision, the speed differential would make the impact at 30 mph, still a serious collision. However, when the impact is head on, then the collision for both vehicles is at 130 mph. No passenger vehicle of which I am aware of is designed to withstand such a violent impact or is capable of fully protecting its occupants from serious injuries.
Two lane highways, with their higher speed limits and curves, make them especially susceptible to head on accidents for the unwary. These roadways generally divide the two opposing lanes of traffic with merely a painted stripe down the center of the roadway. Contrast that to Interstates which are generally divided by space between the two sides of the freeway, or by a concrete or steel barrier. I encourage everyone to do everything they can to arrive safely and avoid injuries to themselves or others by staying on your side of the road and paying close attention to oncoming traffic.