Many factors contribute to the deadliest crashes in Oklahoma

The modern economy in Oklahoma usually requires individual motor vehicle travel. The vast majority of trips in motor vehicles end without incident, but some of them result in collisions. Some crashes are minor because they occur at lower speeds and involve comparable vehicles. Other collisions are far more extreme.

The worst collisions generally involve multiple vehicles and/or multiple fatalities. When looking at one of the worst collisions in recent Oklahoma history, it becomes obvious that several issues contributed to this tragic wreck.

One crash claimed a half dozen lives

As with drivers of all ages, most teen drivers are safe and responsible as they learn how to properly manage a motor vehicle. However, traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for teenagers, as their lack of experience and sometimes questionable decision-making ability can lead to tragic crashes. That is exactly what happened in 2022 when a wreck led to multiple young adults dying at the same time.

The intersection of State Highway 22 and U.S. 377 is notorious for having a dangerous, outdated design. In March of 2022, I was also the location of one of the worst crashes on record on Oklahoma. The wreck involved six teenage girls in a tiny vehicle that collided with a semi-truck. Not only were there more passengers in the vehicle than it could safely hold, as it has seats for four, but only two of the teens had seat belts on at the time of the wreck. All six of the young women in the vehicle died.

The lack of visibility at the intersection was a known issue, as was the outdated design from when commercial vehicles were smaller and traveling speeds were lower. The decision to operate a vehicle over-filled with other young adults very likely led to distraction for the driver, who may then have not approached this deadly location with the caution necessary. Unfortunately, the combination of factors resulted in one of the worst collisions in recent Oklahoma history.

Small safety issues add up quickly

Distraction, lack of safety restraints, excess speed, problematic road design and numerous other factors on their own don’t always lead to collisions. However, many of the worst crashes that occur in Oklahoma and elsewhere involve scenarios in which there are multiple risk factors present at the same time.

Those who carefully abide by traffic laws, who consistently engage in safe practices at the wheel and who familiarize themselves with the most dangerous roads and intersections in their regions will have an easier time avoiding crashes or minimizing the severity of the collision if they do ever experience one. Tracking information about when, where and why the worst collisions occur in Oklahoma can help some people stay safer in traffic, as a result.