You expect drivers on the road to drive cautiously, have adequate experience driving, and be familiar with the roads they are on. However, this is not always the case and accidents happen as a result. Wrong-way collisions are one of the most dangerous accidents with devastating results and the top cause of car accidents.
In fact, a wrong-way collision is 12-27 times more fatal and often involve more than one fatality. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are around 360 wrong-way fatalities on the highways. About 61% of these fatalities are caused by drunk drivers and occasionally occur at 2 in the morning.
The police organization and local traffic control have improved detection systems and put up more signs but the number of wrong-way deaths in Texas has been steady for the past recent years.
Head-on collisions are one of the most terrifying scenarios on the road and are often the result of devastating fatalities especially when driving the wrong way.
When two vehicles crash head-on at a speed of 70 mph the drivers feel the impact at 140 mph. At a speed like this, a head-on collision will result in serious injuries or death.
Wrong-way signs are a line of defense for preventing drivers from heading straight into oncoming traffic. Studies have shown that lowering the sign down to 3 feet off the ground increases a driver’s visibility and drivers are more likely to see the sign and react.
Texas has not adopted this tactic as they still don’t seem convinced that it will work and they want more research done. The Texas Department of Transportation, however, says that if they lower the signs down to 2 feet that they will be safer if a driver crashes into the sign. The signs do not cost much at only $200-$300 per sign but nothing is being done.
Most wrong-way incidents occur as a result of the driver being intoxicated or under the influence or are just confused.
Wrong-way accident reports spike at around 2 am and between 2-4 am is known as the dead hours because it is the most dangerous time to be on the road.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the majority of wrong-way drivers were intoxicated and 59% of these drivers had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or more.
Unfortunately, Texas has one of the highest rates of drunk driving collisions in the country and more wrong-way deaths.
Texas Needs To Implement Stronger Safety Measures
Over the past 10 years, 4,000 people have been killed in wrong-way collisions nationwide. Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio have had the most wrong-way accidents than any other area.
Texas has taken a lot of heat for its lack of urgency of not coming up with safety measures to prevent wrong-way drivers from entering the highway.
Common Wrong-Way Scenarios
Getting On The Wrong Entrance Ramp of The Freeway
This is the most common cause of wrong-way accidents. When a driver is going the opposite direction of oncoming traffic that is either exiting or entering the freeway a devastating collision will occur.
A driver may also have entered the highway through the exit ramp instead of the entrance ramp.
Turning Into a One-Way Street in The Wrong Direction
This scenario occurs many times on the road especially in urban areas because downtown streets and metropolitan roads tend to only have traffic flow in one direction.
Driving on The Wrong Side of The Highway or Road
Taking the wrong exit or getting directions rerouted can make it possible that you may find yourself driving the wrong way.
Elderly drivers are responsible for causing around 15 % of wrong-way collisions. It may be due to their inability to recognize danger due to vision problems, dementia, or physical limitations that prevent them from correcting a mistake they made on the road.
A driver that is on their phone or texting may merge against oncoming traffic, turn onto the wrong highway ramp, or drive the opposite way of a one-way street.
Drivers that are unfamiliar with the roadways may not know how to navigate one-way streets, traffic circles, or know the direction of travel in alleys.
These drivers may cause wrong-way accidents on the entrance of ramps, or attempt to make an illegal U-turn to follow their GPS.
Rerouting traffic during ongoing construction can cause a lot of confusion especially when parallel lanes are temporarily used for the opposite direction of traffic.
Without the proper signs and lane shifting techniques, drivers could continue driving the wrong way.
Lack of Warning Signs
Ramps that lack the Do Not Enter signs, inadequate lighting, or signs obstructed by foliage could all cause a driver to drive the wrong way.
Warning signs are vital because they can prevent drivers from entering a roadway the wrong way.
The product designer or manufacturer may be held liable for your wrong way accident if a faulty steering system, defective tire, or other defective equipment forced you to enter traffic the wrong way.
What Should You Do If You See a Wrong-Way Driver?
The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to pull over immediately and call the police to report the driver.
The police will work to stop the wrong-way driver by using sirens, lights, or roadblocks.
You can also flash your high beams to try and get the driver’s attention and pull over to the side of the road.
How To Prevent Wrong-Way Accidents
Most states place DO NOT ENTER signs on roadways to alert the drivers. However, the problem is that most of these wrong-way accidents occur at night when visibility is low. Signs are designed to reflect the light from a car’s headlights but unfortunately, some drivers do not see them when it is dark.
Call Our Attorneys If You Have Been Injured From Wrong-Way Driving
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a wrong-way accident, Joe I. Zaid & Associates can help. Our attorneys have years of experience helping injured victims throughout Texas and across the nation. We provide injury clients with a free consultation and will fight to recover the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at (281) 990-5200 or send us a message via our live chat for any concerns you may have on your case.