Seeing headlights coming towards you on the highway at night is a terrifying sight. Each year in the U.S., there are almost 360 fatalities from wrong-way driving on highways according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Many people discount the seriousness of wrong-way collisions because they are less frequent than other types of crashes. However, a wrong-way crash is 12-27 times more likely to be fatal, and often involve more than one fatality.
Despite efforts by local traffic and police organizations to implement improved signage and detection systems, the number of wrong-way deaths in Texas has been fairly steady in recent years. In 2017 alone, San Antonio reported 60 wrong-way crashes.
Keep reading to learn more about how wrong-way driving occurs, what to do if you see someone driving the wrong way, and the importance of contacting a personal injury attorney if you’ve been injured in a wrong-way collision.
How Does Wrong Way Driving Happen?
Wrong-way driving refers to vehicles traveling against traffic on a highway. Typically, this occurs because a driver has entered the highway via an exit ramp rather than the entrance ramp.
Factors Involved in Wrong-Way Driving
Wrong-way driving occurs most often when the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and does not notice “Do Not Enter” signs and other safety precautions. According to an National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study, the majority of wrong-way drivers are intoxicated—and a shocking 59% have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or more. Unfortunately, Texas has one of the highest rates of drunk driving crashes in the country, which leads to more wrong-way deaths.
Other Factors involved in wrong-way driving incidences include alcohol, drugs, fatigue, inattention, and driving late at night. Age can also play a role; the NTSB reports that drivers over the age of 70 are more likely to cause wrong-way crashes than right-way crashes.
When Do Wrong-Way Collisions Occur?
Some collisions happen on the ramps, but the most serious and deadly wrong-way crashes occur on the highway at high speeds. Because many wrong-way drivers are drunk or impaired, not only are they going the wrong way, they are also likely to be driving recklessly, and may hit vehicles that are trying to avoid them.
RELATED SUCCESS STORY: Alexandria’s Story: A Drunk Driver Speeds Down the Highway in the Wrong Direction
What Should I Do If I See A Wrong-Way Driver?
No one expects to see a car coming straight at them on the highway. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and other drivers is to pull over immediately and call 911 to report the driver.
After you report the driver, police will work to stop the vehicle safely using lights, sirens, or even roadblocks.
And if you’ve been injured by a driver going the wrong way, you can learn all about what you should do by downloading our free in-depth ebook:
FREE EBOOK: 5 Mistakes to Avoid After an Auto Accident
Call Crosley Law If You’ve Been Injured in a Wrong-Way Collision in Texas
If you or a loved one has been injured in a wrong-way collision in Texas, working with an experienced accident attorney is crucial to obtaining compensation for your injuries. Crosley Law has years of experience helping crash victims throughout San Antonio and Texas get the justice and compensation they deserve.
Highway Special Investigation Report: Wrong-Way Driving. (2012, December). National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved from https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Documents/SIR1201.pdf
Whitfield, S. (2018, June 11). TxDOT: Houston has most wrong-way crashes among big cities in Texas. KHOU 11. Retrieved from https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/txdot-houston-has-most-wrong-way-crashes-among-big-cities-in-texas/285-563356199
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.