When inexperienced drivers get behind the wheel, they often make the fatal mistake of overcorrecting when they run off the road. Teenagers in particular are prone to this habit, resulting in often preventable auto accidents.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that in 2010, there were 235 car accidents that involved teen drivers overcorrecting, or steering their wheel too far in the opposite direction after going off the road. Last year, the number of similar accidents rose to 244.

When a car slides or slips off to the right, the driver’s natural reaction is to quickly yank the steering wheel to the left. Experienced drivers realize this can cause the car to spin rapidly, roll, or veer into oncoming traffic. Even at relatively slower speeds, overcorrecting can be a fatal instinct.

Unseasoned and/or distracted motorists are most prone to this habit. Add rain, ice, or snow to the mix, and running off the road is even more likely. However, while driving experts agree that going off the road is sometimes unavoidable, drivers can prevent overcorrection through awareness and practice.

Committed Virginia educators are hoping to stem the tide of this deadly auto crash trend. At several high schools, the drivers’ education program includes safely practicing running off the road and gradually easing back on the pavement.

Confirmation of the effects of overcorrecting can be found among the hundreds of victims of Virginia car crashes last year. Even those who escaped injury still face legal hurdles and administrative hassles. If Virginia drivers are involved in an overcorrecting accident, experienced attorneys can help sort out the damaging details.

Source: WSLS, “Running off road, overcorrecting a common theme in teen crashes,” Jessie Pounds, Feb. 26, 2012