Man Dies in Head-On Crash in South Coeur d’ Alene

January 28, 2019

Two pickup trucks met head on when one crossed the center line on U.S. 95 near Mica Grade on Wednesday, January 23. According to an Idaho State Police officer at the scene, a Toyota pickup crossed the centerline in a curve on the icy two-lane highway and met a Ford F-350 head-on.

The man driving the Toyota was instantly killed, and the Ford rolled over on its hood down an embankment. The occupants of the Ford were both injured but not seriously.

Icy Roads and Head-On Collisions

Slick roads cause crashes. Each year there are over 1.2 million crashes involving slick roads, and out of those, roughly one third are from winter weather conditions, according to the NTHSA. In some circumstances, icy roads can be more dangerous than driving on a snow-covered road. This happens when roads are cleared of snow, but still have ice on the surface. Motorists feel like they can operate their vehicle the same as in dry conditions, and then spin out or cross the center line because of the ice.

Head-On Collisions

One of the deadliest types of crashes is the head-on collision which is understandable as the impact is affected by the speed and mass of both vehicles. The NTHSA also reports that head-on collisions make up around 2% of all crashes each year, while accounting for over 10% of fatalities. The same report shows that the chance of severe injury is also greater when two cars hit head on.

The majority of head-on collisions can be placed in two categories: centerline drift and wrong way driving. A wrong-way driving (WWD) head-on occurs when a vehicle enters a divided highway or freeway going the wrong direction. Centerline drift is just like it sounds, a car drifts (or slides) over the centerline on a non-divided highway striking an on-coming car head on.

Causes of Head-On Collision

Out of the roughly 33,000 head-on fatalities each year, only 400 of those come from WWD with the rest coming from vehicles crossing the centerline. Some of the common causes of these are:

  • Impaired Driving
  • Road Conditions
  • Drowsy/Falling Asleep
  • Distracted Driving

Icy Roads play a major role in head-on collisions comprising a significant percentage of all road-condition related crashes.

How to Avoid Icy Road Collisions

The best thing to do is to not drive in icy or snowy conditions, but that is not always possible. The next best things is to slow down. Stopping times are dramatically increased when the roads are slick. This means that speed and momentum are much more dangerous, and the only way to adjust is to slow down.

According to the American Automobile Association there are things a driver can do to reduce the risk of snow accidents.

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Drive slowly
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
  • Know your brakes.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it.
  • Don’t power up hills.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill.

Do I need an attorney?

If you are injured in a head-on accident or any involving snow and ice, you might need an attorney to help you get compensation. While this is not always necessary, insurance companies will often try to put the blame on you or even the icy roads so that they won’t have to pay as much money.

Don’t let this happen to you. Talk to an attorney who represents the people of Coeur d’ Alene and has the experience with insurance companies and courtrooms. The attorneys at  Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call them at (509) 926 4900 or send them a message.


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