One day as you turn onto a one-way section of the road, you may spot on the horizon a driver going the direction opposite of you in the same lane. You’ll likely immediately panic.
As reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, wrong-way driving-related crashes result in between 300 and 400 deaths, accounting for 1 percent of yearly traffic fatalities. Though rare, you may encounter this scenario, and if it happens, you should do your best to avoid the driver and mitigate the impact of the collision. Here are some tips and information regarding wrong-way accidents.
What causes wrong-way driving?
There are several types of people and conditions that cause wrong-way driving:
Distracted driving. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in general. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that in 2018 alone, there were 2841 people killed by those not paying any mind to the road. These drivers may be checking their phone or texting, interacting with the touch panel of their vehicle, or doing whatever else that causes distraction.
Drowsy driving. Sleepiness impacts driving just as much, if not more, than alcohol.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Unfortunately, alcohol-influenced car accidents happen every day. Impaired judgment causes many wrong-way accidents.
Medical issues. Medical issues may impact a person’s ability to drive. Medical issues may include:
- Impaired vision
- Specific personality disorders
How to avoid or protect yourself from an oncoming driver
While it may be difficult to avoid a wrong-way driver, there are several methods to help you protect yourself:
- Exercise more caution at night and on weekends. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and reported by Automotive Fleet, most wrong-way accidents occur between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am. Additionally, collisions caused by wrong-way drivers happen more often on the weekend.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts serve as self-defense in an oncoming collision. They’re known for keeping you secure and safe, preventing you from flying through the windshield. Be sure to properly wear your seatbelt and keep it mid-chest. The seatbelt should be away from your neck, and do not put the shoulder belt behind you. Finally, snugly wear your seatbelt across both the pelvis and rib cage.
- Bring attention to the wrong-way driver. Do whatever you can to alert the wrong-way driver that they are on the wrong side of the road. Use a blinker to indicate a direction, use emergency flashers, or honk the horn.
- Always remain alert. It’s a given that you should always keep your eyes peeled for any unexpected issues on the road.
- Slow down, move into the slow lane, or seek a way off the road or highway. If you spot a wrong-way driver, slow down and move into the right lane. Though the best approach is pulling off the road itself, you may not always be able to.
Consult an attorney for more advice
At some point in your life, you may encounter a wrong-way driver. The driver could be under the influence, suffering from a medical condition, or plain old distracted. If you get into an accident with this driver, immediately get medical treatment and then directly contact a personal injury attorney for consultation regarding the crash.
Wrong-Way Accidents – Can You Avoid Them? While you’re in recovery, you may face medical bills, loss of wages, trauma and suffering, diminished quality of life, and more. A personal injury attorney will be able to do the work necessary to help you get the compensation you need.