The Attorneys You Need When It Matters Most

What causes wrong-way accidents?

Imagine this: You’re headed along a familiar highway at night when suddenly you see headlights coming directly toward you – but they’re not on their side of the road divide. Someone is driving the wrong way on the road.

That’s enough to make most people’s hearts skip a beat, and it happens all the time. Roughly 350 people every year are killed in wrong-way accidents, and thousands more are seriously injured because the head-on collisions and multi-car pile-ups caused by wrong-way drivers can be much worse than the standard car accident.

What causes drivers to get turned around on the road? 

Most of the time, the drivers are impaired

Impaired drivers are behind more than 59% of wrong-way accidents and more than 76% of those involving fatalities. It’s no coincidence that wrong-way crashes tend to increase after 10 p.m., with the biggest spike between two and three in the morning, right after the bars close for the night. 

Other drivers are simply confused

Poorly marked exit ramps, signs obscured by vegetation, complicated interchange layouts and construction detours that make familiar routes seem strange can all cause drivers to mistake an off-ramp for an on-ramp. Older drivers, too, may be suffering from cognitive and visual impairments that make it more likely that they’ll get confused and end up heading in the wrong direction.

Some drivers give in to distractions

Finally, some drivers end up letting distractions get the better of them. Whether they’re looking at a cellular device at the wrong moment, struggling to read their GPS or fumbling with their vehicle’s infotainment system, it only takes a momentary distraction to end up traveling the wrong way on a road.

If you encounter a wrong-way driver, get as far to the right as possible and blow your horn. As soon as practical, stop your vehicle and call 911 to alert the authorities. If you end up in a wreck with a wrong-way driver or a loved one is killed, it may be time to learn more about your legal options.