“Wrong way driving” refers to drivers who drive on the wrong side of a roadway or on the wrong section of highway or freeway. On average, the rate of fatalities for wrong way driving is about one each day in the United States. Additionally, wrong way driving causes serious debilitating injuries at a higher rate than other types of car accidents. While wrong way driving amounts to only three percent of the car crashes occurring each year, their rate of fatality is much higher than other types of car crashes.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT CAUSES WRONG WAY DRIVING
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies wrong way driving. In its “Fatality Analysis Reporting System,” it focuses, in part, on the conditions that cause wrong way driving fatalities. In an alarming 58% of traffic fatalities between 2004 and 2011, the wrong way drivers had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more. This is almost twice the rate of fatalities involving drunk drivers for car crashes as a whole.
On average, older drivers and those with less driving experience are more likely to engage in wrong way driving. Additionally, the rate of wrong way driving increases during the nighttime hours. In many cases, the driver turns too soon, or doesn't realize the highway is divided, and enters the roadway driving the wrong way after a left hand turn. In some other cases, the driver mistakes an exit ramp for an entrance ramp and, without visual cues such as oncoming traffic, enters the freeway driving the wrong way.
PREVENTING WRONG WAY DRIVING
While no one plans to drive the wrong way on a road, it cannot be completely prevented. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of wrong way driving. Don't drive when drowsy. Being alert and aware of your surroundings decreases the chance of wrong way driving. Don't drive distracted. Texting, eating, disciplining children in the back seat, or putting on makeup are all examples of behaviors that can result in distracted driving. Keep your attention on the issue at hand: driving. Don't drive drunk. Drunk driving is the largest cause of wrong way driving. If you think you have had too much to drink, stay where you are, call a friend for a ride, get a hotel room, or find another solution. Uber and Lyft are great too! Drunk driving can injure and kill you or others.
HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED BY A WRONG WAY DRIVER?
If you have been injured by a wrong way driver, or if you have lost a loved one due to a wrong way driver, contact the law firm of Frost & Kavanaugh. Arthur Frost handles personal injury cases for people who have been injured due to someone else's negligent or careless choices. We only charge a fee if we win your case, so you have nothing to lose.