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Wrong-Way Vehicle Accidents

Posted on: September 29, 2017

wrong-way vehicle

Wrong-way vehicle accidents cause approximately 300 to 400 fatalities every year. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) defines wrong-way driving as, “a driver who operates their vehicle in the opposite direction of travel on a freeway or highway and collides with a vehicle traveling in the right direction.”

Wrong-way vehicle accidents only comprise about 3% of all motor vehicle accidents; however, they are the leading type of motor vehicle accident to result in a fatality. This is between 12% and 27% higher than all other types of vehicle collisions. Therefore, these accidents are among the most dangerous. Wrong-way vehicle collisions are typically head-on collisions, which tend to cause serious injuries. These injuries can include broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, TBIs, chest, abdomen, and rib injuries.

Causes of Wrong-Way Vehicle Accidents

The most common cause of wrong-way accidents is driver error, mostly occurring on highway exit or entrance ramps. The reasons for such mistakes differ, but the most common causes of wrong-way accidents include:

  • Drivers under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medications
  • Drivers unfamiliar with a particular roadway
  • Poorly marked ramps
  • Poorly placed signs
  • Poor ramp design
  • Lack of directional signage
  • Poor visibility
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy drivers

The leading cause of driver error that contributes to wrong-way vehicle accidents is intoxication from drugs or alcohol. Between 50% and 75% of all wrong-way driving accidents involve an intoxicated driver. Consequently, these accidents mostly occur on weekends and late at night.

How to Avoid Wrong-Way Drivers

Avoiding wrong-way drivers requires increased vigilance and constant scanning, especially in darkness and around potential wrong-way mistake points. When approaching on and off ramps, or entrances onto roadways with restricted access, pay particular attention to all vehicles approaching. The further ahead and around you can see, the better your chances of detecting a hazardous driver’s approach, allowing time to take evasive action.

Keep the following strategies in mind:

  • Always travel in the right lane if possible. The wrong way driver may be confused; the wrong-way driver’s right is actually the left lane, known as the fast lane.
  • Avoid distractions while you are driving, such as noisy passengers or using communication devices. Be sure to always stay alert.
  • When detecting a wrong-way driver, immediately leave the roadway in as safe a manner as possible. Contact emergency authorities right away.

New technology has achieved some success at reducing the number of wrong-way vehicle accidents. Flashing signs in high-risk areas, arrows painted on the roadway, and even spikes or concrete structures that prevent drivers from entering ramps the wrong way all can help prevent driver mistakes that may lead to serious accidents and fatalities. However, nothing can replace vigilance and avoiding impaired or distracted driving.

Oklahoma Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one are involved in a wrong-way vehicle accident in McAlester, Tulsa, or eastern Oklahoma, call the experienced car accident attorneys at Edwards and Patterson Law. We are specialists at gathering evidence and reconstructing accident scenes to defend your rights and obtain you the compensation you deserve as an accident victim.

At Edwards & Patterson Law, we offer free case evaluations with no strings attached. Call us today at 877-403-8417 or contact us online. Our team accepts cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay absolutely no attorney fees unless you recover monetary damages.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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