Its seems like just about every week there is a news story about a driver traveling the wrong way on a large highway. Sometimes the driver is lucky and escapes without incident. Other times, however, the results are much more tragic. Wrong-way drivers are responsible for some of the most serious crashes on our highways. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Highway Administration define a wrong-way driving crash as one in which a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction of the legal flow of traffic on a high speed divided highway or ramp collides with another vehicle traveling in the correct direction.
Why do Wrong-Way Accidents Happen?
Drivers who drive the wrong way on a major highway, or anywhere, are putting themselves and other drivers at a high risk of a severe crash. Wrong-way drivers may be impaired or fatigued or the weather conditions may make it difficult to see the roadway. Inexperience is another factor that could come into play in these accidents.
Sometimes, a wrong way driver enters the highway through an exit ramp. This has the driver going the exact opposite way of traffic and in danger of a head-on collision. What makes things worse is that drivers may be traveling at the speed limit and may not see the wrong-way driver until it is too late to avoid a collision.
Wrong-way drivers have traveled great distances without realizing they are headed in the incorrect direction. This may be because the driver is impaired due to alcohol or substance use or because of extreme fatigue. Another potential cause is distracted driving. A driver with little experience on the highway may unintentionally enter the highway in the wrong place.
Most wrong-way driving situations occur at night or in the early morning hours when there are few other drivers on the road. When there is more traffic, a driver is less likely to be in the position to enter the freeway in the wrong place.
Preventing Wrong-Way Accidents
Wrong-way accidents are preventable. Proper signage can make a world of difference. Signs must be large and to be posted at every possible wrong-way entrance to a roadway. There are some wrong-way driver detection and warning systems being utilized by some states in critical locations where wrong-way accidents have occurred. The Texas Department of Transportation has installed a warning system that will reduce wrong-way accidents in a 15 mile stretch of their most vulnerable roadways.
Drivers should know the potential for a wrong-way driver and stay alert. Drive in the right lane so you can avoid a possible head-on crash since many wrong-way drivers are traveling in what they think is their right lane. If you see someone driving the wrong way, immediately call 911 to report the incident so the police can be dispatched to stop the driver.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a crash with a wrong-way driver, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact Baumgartner Law Firm today to discuss your case.