Any auto accident is horrific, but there is something about being in a collision with a driver going the wrong way on a divided highway that is particularly terrifying. It happens more often than you might think. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, over 350 fatalities occur annually in this type of crash.
These kinds of collisions have a high fatality rate when compared with other types of motor vehicle crashes. That is because the vehicles involved typically crash head-on at high speeds, making catastrophic injuries or deaths almost inevitable. People who do survive such crashes often require lengthy rehabilitation or multiple surgeries to recover from their injuries.
Why do drivers go the wrong way down the highway? There can be many possible reasons. Drivers are distracted, impaired by their advanced age, under the influence, confused about exit and entrance ramps or are driving in inclement weather conditions creating limited visibility. Driving inexperience and being in an unfamiliar, poorly lit area are additional causes of wrong-way crashes.
Actions you can take to guard against having a wrong-way crash
- Try to look as far into the distance as possible to spot a wrong-way driver. This will give you some time to react if a vehicle is headed right toward you.
- Take your cue from other drivers. If you notice them braking, using their horns or slowing down, they may be responding to a wrong-way driver.
- Drive in the right-hand lane if you can. Wrong-way motorists typically drive on the right side, which would be on the opposite side from where you are traveling.
- Get your car to a safe place and call 911.
Wrong-way driving accidents usually have major consequences for those involved. You could have permanent physical impairment or be unable to work. Such setbacks wreak havoc on you, your family and your career. If you are impacted by a collision caused by a wrong-way driver in California, you will probably want to seek compensation for what you endured.