Chat with CHP: What do I do if I drift off the roadway?

FRESNO, Calif. -- More than one out of every three crashes this year in the Central Valley have been because of unsafe turning movement, which can happen when people drift off the roadway.

Drifting off the roadway can be due to a number of factors, including fatigue, distracted driving and DUI. Accidents can happen when drivers react the incorrect way, so what should you do if you find yourself drifting off the road?

"What happens next is of utmost importance," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. "Some people will react by applying their brakes. Some people will react by swerving their vehicle. Those are two things that you do not do, both of which could result in loss of control of your vehicle and could send you into oncoming traffic or off the roadway."

"So if you find yourself in a situation where you drift off onto the shoulder, slowly apply steering input and gradually bring your vehicle back onto the roadway," he said. Essentially, gently steer yourself back onto the road. Too often, drivers slam on the breaks or swerve hard back onto the roadway, Pennings said.

"Do not swerve your vehicle or apply heavy braking, because that will result and possible loss in control of your vehicle," Pennings said.

Of the more than 235 crash fatalities in the Central Valley this year, 88 of them have been due to unsafe turning movement.

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