It can be difficult to understand what would lead a driver to travel the wrong way on a divided highway, but unfortunately, it does happen on a regular basis. Just recently, law enforcement reported a suspected wrong-way driving crash resulting in at least one fatality on I-35 in Austin, and hundreds of people die in wrong-way car crashes each year throughout the U.S. Understanding the causes of wrong-way driving accidents may help you avoid them or know how best to pursue compensation if you or a loved one is injured in such a crash.
Common Factors in Wrong-Way Collisions
In recent years, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published a special report on wrong-way driving crashes in the U.S. after conducting several investigations and extensive data analysis. Through their research, they identified a few common factors that contribute to fatal accidents involving wrong-way drivers on the highway, including:
- Alcohol intoxication – The report found that at least 60 percent of wrong-way drivers were impaired by alcohol, with over half of those having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher.
- Time of day and week – The vast majority of the accidents studied occurred at night in conditions of low visibility, and a large number occurred on weekends.
- Improper use of exit ramps – According to the results of the study, the largest number of wrong-way drivers on the highway entered using an exit ramp. Possible reasons for this include unclear signage; driver confusion, inexperience, or distraction; and intoxicating substances that impair a driver’s mental abilities. Other instances of wrong-way driving came from a driver missing an exit and making an illegal U-turn through an emergency turnaround.
With these factors in mind, it is important to stay alert for wrong-way drivers, especially on nights and weekends and in areas that you know have complicated entrance-exit interchanges or that are not clearly marked.
Wrong-Way Crash Injuries
Unsurprisingly, head-on collisions are common in cases involving wrong-way drivers. These types of accidents tend to be some of the most severe, with an increased likelihood of catastrophic injuries to the brain and spinal cord, limbs, and internal organs, many of which are immediately or ultimately fatal. If you are injured in a crash with a driver traveling in the wrong direction, establishing the other driver’s negligence may be relatively straightforward, but it is still important to work with an attorney who can help you pursue the most possible compensation for all of your damages. Depending on the circumstances, this may include high medical expenses, lost income and earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering damages for the lasting effects on your life, or damages related to the wrongful death of a family member.
Contact a New Braunfels Personal Injury Lawyer
For accidents involving wrong-way driving and any other forms of negligence, The Bettersworth Law Firm can help you recover fair compensation for your injuries. Contact our New Braunfels car crash injury attorney to request a free consultation by calling 830-443-9193.