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We all assume that when we get behind the wheel of a car, we are going to get wherever we are going safely. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Recently, two teenage boys were killed in a head-on collision with a van on SR 231 in Southern Indiana. The driver of the van was left hospitalized with serious head and leg injuries.

Indiana State Police say 19-year-old John Wade of Boonville was passing a vehicle on U.S. 231 near Gentryville Wednesday morning when his car struck a van head-on.

It is important that all of us take every safe driving precaution while operating our vehicles. First, always make sure that there is sufficient distance to pass another vehicle safely. If you cannot see far enough ahead for you to be certain there are no other oncoming vehicles, do not pass. Southern Indiana has a lot of two lane roads that weave their way through hilly countryside. Often, oncoming cars or trucks can be blocked from view as they come up the other side of a hill.

The distance between you and another vehicle is sometimes referred to as “sight distance.” All roads and highways are designed and built to provide for proper sight distance between vehicles operating on the road, so that drivers can have sufficient time to make safe decisions while driving. For example, if one driver passes another vehicle in an area marked for no-passing, they are certainly undertaking a dangerous driving manuveur because there will not be sufficient sight distance to pass the other vehicle. Therefore, the passing driver is risking being involved in a head-on collision if another car is approaching from around a curve or beyond the crest of a hill.

Finally, always remember to not be in a hurry. It is far more important to get wherever you are going safely than it is to get there quickly. Remember, you cannot always avoid another person’s mistake, but you can do everything in your power to keep yourself, your family, and the people around you safe.

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