Wrong way accidents are not very common, but when they do happen, the consequences can be devastating and even fatal. In fact, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there were 2,008 deaths from wrong-way crashes between 2015 and 2018, a 34% increase over the previous time period.
Wrong-way car crashes happen when a vehicle travels in the opposite direction against the flow of traffic, usually on a highway. Drivers who are not vigilant or sober are often prone to this type of accident, which can lead to severe injuries or fatalities for themselves and others on the road.
Why are these accidents so severe? Let’s take a look at the common causes of wrong-way accidents, the injuries that can result, and how to prevent them.
How Drivers Cause a Wrong Way Car Crash
Wrong way car crashes can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Numerous factors can cause these types of collisions. The most usual causes of wrong way accidents include:
- DUI: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the major causes of wrong-way accidents. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol may enter the highway in the wrong direction or drive on the wrong side of the road, which can lead to a catastrophic DUI accident.
- Distracted driving: Using a mobile phone, eating, talking to a passenger, or adjusting the radio, can distract a driver when driving. Such distractions can cause a driver to lose focus, and in some cases, the driver might accidentally drive in the wrong direction or enter a highway using the exit ramp.
- Advanced age: Drivers who are above the age of 65 and suffer from vision impairment, memory lapses, and slower reflexes, are more prone to wrong-way accidents.
- Poorly marked ramps and road signs: Poor signage is a common cause of wrong-way accidents. Some highway signage may be confusing or misleading causing drivers to turn onto the exit ramp unintentionally.
- Lack of visibility: Fog, heavy rains, or snow can obscure a driver’s vision, making it nearly impossible for drivers to see road signs, traffic signals, and other vehicles.
- Drowsiness: Fatigue often causes wrong way drivers to lose focus, which then could cause them to enter an exit ramp or drift into the wrong lane.
- Unfamiliar roadways: Drivers who are not familiar with an area might accidentally enter the highway in the wrong direction.
If you’ve been in a wrong-way car accident, you’re likely dealing with injuries and the aftermath of the collision. Before talking to the insurance company about a settlement, consult with a personal injury law firm to understand your rights. The at-fault party can be held liable for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Common Injuries in a Wrong-Way Accident
Wrong way accidents often have severe consequences and can cause life-changing injuries or even death. Although they account for only 3% of accidents on high-speed divided highways, they are much more likely to result in fatal or serious injuries than other types of highway accidents.
People involved in a wrong-way crash can experience all kinds of injuries, but the most common injuries people sustain include:
- Head and neck injuries: Whiplash, concussion, and traumatic brain injuries are common head and neck injuries that result from car accidents.
- Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the spinal cord may cause paralysis, limited mobility, and pain for a person for the rest of their life.
- Internal injuries: Chest trauma from the impact of a crash can puncture lungs and other organs leading to serious internal injuries.
- Broken bones: Accidents can cause bones to crush or break, which requires immediate medical attention.
How to Reduce the Risk of a Wrong-Way Car Accident
Reducing the risk of a wrong-way car accident is all about being aware of your surroundings and staying focused when driving. Here are some tips to help prevent a wrong way accident.
- Stay focused when driving: Drivers must be alert, awake, and attentive while driving. They should avoid distractions, be aware of their location, and follow the road signs.
- Always travel in the right lane: Traveling in the right lane when it’s available is the safest alternative as seven out of nine wrong-way collisions happen in the left lane.
- Obey traffic signs: Pay attention to traffic signals and road signage. Crossing a “do not enter” sign is one of the most common reasons cars go the wrong way.
- Plan your route: Before hitting the road, plan your journey. Use GPS or map apps to understand the driving direction and ensure you stay on route.
- Drive defensively: Always be watchful of other drivers on the road and the possibility of them going the wrong way.
Wrong-way car accidents are avoidable if drivers understand the potential dangers on the road and take the necessary precautions. You can reduce the chances of getting into a wrong-way collision by staying focused on driving, obeying traffic rules, and being prepared.
Car Accident Personal Injury Attorneys in Lancaster County, Pa.
At Georgelis Injury Law Firm, we understand how serious and devastating a wrong-way car crash can be and what accident victims go through – the pain, trauma, stress, anxiety, and financial burden can be incredibly overwhelming. You do not have to face the aftermath of a wrong-way collision alone. If you’ve been injured and aren’t sure where to turn, reach out to us for a free consultation and review of your case.
Our team of personal injury lawyers and paralegals has not only the experience to help you recover compensation for your expenses and hardships related to the accident, but also the compassion to understand what you are dealing with after such a traumatic experience. Our goal is to ease the burden of the legal system so you can focus on recovering.
Let us take on the insurance company for you. Start a discussion online or call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW. We do not charge a fee for our time unless we win your case.