A vehicle driving the wrong way can cause an enormous amount of damage. Compared to rear-end crashes, sideswipe accidents, and T-bone collisions, wrong-way accidents are very rare. However, this trend has started to shift in the wrong direction. Learn more about why wrong-way accidents are on the rise and what we can do. For more personalized assistance regarding your car accident claim, call Peake & Fowler at 803-788-4370.
Wrong-Way Crashes Can Be Catastrophic
Wrong-way crashes are more likely than other types of collisions to cause severe or fatal injuries. In these situations, it’s often difficult for others to get out of the way of the car driving the wrong way.
Even when there’s space to move aside, few people are able to respond quickly to such a threat. While some wrong-way drivers realize their mistake very quickly and attempt to turn around, many never notice that they are headed in the wrong direction. They’re traveling at the same speed or even faster than people going the right way, causing an enormous amount of force when the vehicles collide.
An unsettling trend indicates that wrong-way accidents are increasing across the United States, after years of them remaining relatively stable. What is causing this and how can we reverse it?
Driver Error is a Major Cause
As is the case across most types of car accidents, human error is perhaps the main cause of wrong-way crashes. Drunk driving is a common factor in many wrong-way crashes.
Impaired drivers are less likely to notice “wrong way” signs or realize that they are driving in the opposite direction of the vehicles around them. Unfortunately, since impaired drivers are already significantly more dangerous on the road than other drivers, these accidents can lead to multiple fatalities and life-changing injuries.
Elderly drivers are another source of wrong-way accidents. Although the risk is greater when a driver is unfamiliar with the area, drivers with dementia or similar disorders can get confused even if they’re in an area they know well. Elderly drivers are also less likely to know to change course when they’re driving the wrong way, making them a serious danger on the roads.
What other types of human error can lead to wrong-way accidents? Drowsy drivers are prone to making mistakes that alert drivers may not. Some accidents in recent years have involved drivers who have accidentally navigated onto the wrong side of the road, only to fall asleep at the wheel. These accidents often have tragic outcomes.
Road Design Flaws
Of course, human error isn’t the only reason that wrong-way collisions occur. Road signage and markings are also important. If a road has poorly marked ramps, too few signs or signs that are hard to read, limited lighting, or signs blocked by trees, it’s going to be much harder for drivers to avoid making these mistakes.
Unfortunately, accidents caused by road design errors can be very complicated for victims. When the at-fault party is a government agency or municipality, it can be much harder to get the compensation you deserve.
Preventing Wrong-Way Accidents
In response to these troubling trends, leaders and legislators are looking for ways to minimize the risk of wrong-way accidents. Improving driver safety is a huge priority. Increased penalties for impaired drivers are one option explored by some legislators. Others are focused on early recognition of elderly drivers who may be dangerous to themselves or others while driving.
Many municipalities have taken steps to make the roads safer by improving signage and lighting. Regular tree trimming and assessment of local roadways can help leaders recognize dangerous areas and make necessary changes. Proper lighting, bright signs, and clearly marked lanes can do a lot to decrease the likelihood of wrong-way accidents.
Contact Peake & Fowler to Discuss Your Personal Injury Claim
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a wrong-way accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The sooner you connect with a local personal injury lawyer, the sooner you can start fighting for the compensation you deserve. The team at Peake & Fowler is here to help. Call us at 803-788-4370 or to get started.