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....