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Wrong Way Driving Accidents

Wrong Way Car Accidents

In fact, wrong way driving accidents are 12 times more likely to result in serious injury or death than other types of accidents, according to the NTSB.

Wrong-way driving car accidents have a high likelihood of being very serious. Overall, head-on collisions account for about 18% of all traffic fatalities, according to the NHTSA, and many of these fatal accidents are due to wrong-way driving accidents, not the incidental accidents that occur during failed passing maneuvers. These accidents claim hundreds of lives each year and result in thousands more serious injuries.

In Chicago, the recent death of two victims in a Lake Shore Drive wrong way driving accident reminds us of the potential tragedy that results from this type of accident. Like most wrong way driving accidents, this one is believed to be the result of DUI on the part of the wrong way driver, a police officer.

Fault in Wrong Way Driving Accidents

Fault in wrong way driving accidents can be assigned almost always to the wrong-way driver. Wrong way driving accidents are caused by:

  • Drunk driving (accounts for about 60% of all wrong-way driving accidents)
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Unfit or unlicensed driver

In all these cases, it is the wrong way driver that must be held responsible for the injuries you suffered.

Preventing Wrong-Way Crashes

The development of new technologies can help prevent many wrong way accidents.

Wrong-way accidents can occur when a driver crosses a double yellow line and enters into the lane of opposing traffic or when drivers enter a highway from the wrong side and go in the direction opposite to oncoming traffic. Wrong way collisions often cause devastating and life-threatening injuries because of the increased force of two vehicles in a head-on collision and because such accidents are usually high-speed collisions. The development of new technologies can help prevent many wrong way accidents.

Technological Advances That Prevent Wrong-Way Accidents

In the past few years, vehicle safety technology has advanced considerably. One such promising technology involves the development of an in-vehicle communication system that makes it possible for people in cars to speak to other cars near them on the road. The Federal Communications Commission has reserved a special frequency to enable vehicle to vehicle communications.

Vehicle to Vehicle Communications Systems

Vehicle to vehicle communications allow drivers to speak to each other about upcoming risks, including wrong way drivers who are traveling in the opposite direction or who have mistakenly entered the wrong side of the road. The technology can also help drivers send an alert signal to law enforcement officials and local transportation authorities if they pass a driver traveling in the opposite direction.

Vehicle to vehicle communication systems are in the testing phase currently. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working on a rule concerning this technology and is likely to make it compulsory for drivers to install this technology on all new light duty cars and trucks. The Department of Transportation has been working on this communications technology for over a decade and believes that the technology can prevent up to 80 percent of vehicle collisions.

Responsibility of Motorists

Technology can help reduce the risk of wrong way crashes, but ultimately, the responsibility of preventing crashes rests with drivers. Motorists should avoid unnecessary risks that can result in wrong way accidents. No matter how advanced safety technology becomes, human error can always cause an accident. If a driver makes a bad choice and causes an accident, the victim of the crash can make a claim for compensation.

Have You Been Involved in a Car Wreck Due to a Wrong Way Driver?

Wrong way driving in Chicago is a serious offense where an estimated half of all wrong way car wrecks kill or cripple the persons involved.

Every day we read or hear about Chicago car accidents. While these headlines may just be a piece of news for many people, for those involved they are very unfortunate events that often cause serious injuries, property damage and even loss of life. Most Chicago car wrecks are caused by human error, and can be avoided just by following safe driving practices.

Some of the most serious types of Chicago car accidents involve a wrong way driver. Wrong way drivers pose a serious threat to people on the roads. According to recent statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wrong way drivers are involved in almost 1.5% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes.

Who Are Responsible for Wrong Way Driver Accidents?

Wrong way drivers can most commonly be divided into four categories including:

  • Elderly drivers who tend to get easily confused
  • Drunk or intoxicated drivers
  • Intentional wrong way drivers who are trying to escape a traffic jam or another similar situation
  • Distracted or inattentive drivers who confuse an off ramp or an on ramp

The National Highway Traffic Safety Board has recommended several remedies to reduce the number of wrong way driver accidents. This includes adding wrong way pavement arrows, moving, adding or reorienting wrong way signs, placing edge lines on pavement markings, improving lightning, and upgrading signs with high intensity reflective sheeting.

It is estimated that about 75% of fatal wrong way crashes are caused by drugged or drunk drivers. This means that despite the best efforts traffic authorities make, it is ultimately up to people to drive responsibly.

Also, since older drivers are responsible for a large number of wrong way crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Board recommends implementation of a safety program targeted specifically towards older drivers.

How to Stay Safe and Avoid a Wrong Way Crash

Due to the fact that there are many negligent drivers on the roads, it is important to pay attention while one is driving and watch out for other drivers possibly driving the wrong way. If you see headlights coming from the wrong direction, there is obvious danger, and you need to get out of the way as soon as you can.

The most common types of accidents caused by wrong way drivers include sideswipe crashes and head-on collisions. A large percentage of the 300 wrong accidents that are reported each year occur on weekends so that is when you need to be extra careful.


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