A 22-year-old Sergeant assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, died in a PMV-4 mishap 15 April 2023 in Oakwood, Oklahoma, at 1530 local. The Soldier was traveling southbound when a civilian vehicle crossed the centerline and collided with his vehicle. Initial reports indicate the civilian driver may have fallen asleep. Currently, there is no indication that drugs or alcohol contributed to the mishap. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) responded and pronounced the Soldier dead at the scene. The unit/safety points of contact are waiting the OHP to release its final report.
Since FY18, the Army has lost an average of 35 Soldiers a year to PMV-4 mishaps. This mishap was the 14th PMV-4 fatality of FY23 and above the number of fatalities for the same time last year.
Head-on motor vehicle collisions are deadly. In 2019, they were responsible for nearly 30% of the 16,700 U.S. roadway deaths that resulted from crashes with other vehicles, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
You can help prevent a potential head-on collision before it occurs. The NSC has developed a lifesaving method for drivers to use – the four R’s.
- Read the road ahead. Scan ahead to the top of the next hill, curve or intersection to recognize hazards. This will help you see and react faster if an oncoming vehicle crosses the centerline. Also, check the shoulder of the road to see if you’ve got room to pull over. Watch the space between the left-front tire of any approaching vehicle and the centerline. If the spacing is becoming smaller, that vehicle may be about to stray into your lane.
- Drive to the right. Drive slightly to the right of center of your lane to create an extra space between you and other vehicles. On multi-lane roadways, leave one lane to the left open. When facing a head-on collision, drive onto the right shoulder. Never swerve into the left lane. If the other driver instinctively pulls their vehicle back into the proper lane, you’ll have a collision in that lane.
- Reduce your speed. If you see a hazard ahead, immediately reduce your speed. This gives you extra time and gives the oncoming driver time to recover and move back into the correct lane. Don’t slam on the brakes or swerve. And never stop your vehicle. If you stop completely, you may be struck from behind – and potentially be pushed forward into the oncoming vehicle.
- Ride off the road. If you must choose between a head-on collision and riding onto the shoulder, your chances of survival are much better on the shoulder. If you must hit something, steer your vehicle to hit the object with a glancing blow rather than head-on. Every inch off center reduces the impact of the collision – and increases your chance for survival.
Tips from NSC Safety + Health