blog home Car Accident Why Do So-Called “Wrong-Way” Car Accidents Ever Occur?

It can be a terrifying experience to see a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way road coming straight toward you. Although not as common as some other types of collisions, wrong-way accidents can cause severe or fatal injuries when they occur. Wrong-way driving can result in a deadly crash, in which two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide head-on.

What Are the Causes of Wrong-Way Accidents?

Several different factors can contribute to wrong-way driving and accidents. Common causes include:

  • Driver error: Most wrong-way accidents are caused by mistakes or some form of driver negligence, such as confusion, intoxication, distraction, or fatigue.
  • Poor signage: Inadequate or confusing signage can send drivers in the wrong direction, contributing to wrong-way crashes.
  • Faulty road design: Poorly designed roads, including confusing exit and entrance ramps, can lead drivers to go the wrong way.
  • Weather conditions: Heavy fog, rain, or snow can make it difficult for drivers to see road signs and markings.
  • Vehicle malfunction: Faulty GPS or tire blowouts can cause drivers to go the wrong way on the road.

What Are the Consequences of Wrong-Way Accidents?

Wrong-way crashes often occur on high-speed, divided highways. When two vehicles traveling in opposite directions at high speeds collide head-on, it can create a tremendous impact that can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. Common injuries in wrong-way accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injury and paralysis
  • Crush injuries
  • Amputations
  • Bone fractures
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Death

How Can Wrong-Way Accidents Be Prevented?

Many wrong-way drivers correct their mistakes before causing a crash by turning around and driving in the right direction. However, some drivers head straight into oncoming traffic with deadly consequences. On average, approximately 350 people are killed every year nationwide in wrong-way freeway accidents, as stated by the Federal Highway Administration. Many wrong-way crashes involve drug or alcohol impairment, older drivers, or poor signage, according to a study conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Strategies to help prevent wrong-way accidents may involve:

  • Alcohol ignition interlock devices
  • New in-vehicle alcohol detection technologies
  • Improved signage
  • Enhanced interchange and ramp designs
  • Technology to detect wrong-way drivers, such as embedded sensors, video detection systems, and flashing lights

Avoid distractions to help prevent wrong-way accidents. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on your driving. Stay alert and follow road signs and markings. To help avoid wrong-way drivers, try to stay in the far-right lane, as most wrong-way crashes happen in the left lane at night. Ensure your headlights are on at dusk, in the dark, and during inclement weather.

How Our Firm Can Help If You Were Injured in a Wrong-Way Accident

A wrong-way crash can cause severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment and time away from work. The Allen Law legal team in Charleston, South Carolina, can thoroughly investigate your accident to establish fault and liability and secure evidence to support your claim. Our Charleston car accident lawyer can assess the full extent of your damages, negotiate skillfully for the compensation you deserve, and fight for your rights in court if necessary.

Head personal injury attorney Julian Allen is a former insurance defense attorney with years of experience in how the “other side” works. Our team uses that inside knowledge to the advantage of our clients. If you have been injured by a wrong-way driver, we want to hear about it. Call us at (843) 882-5005 for a free initial case consultation.

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