It’s clear that wrong-way accidents on the highway are exceedingly dangerous. The cumulative speed of the two vehicles is incredibly high, and the driver who is going the right direction may have little to no reaction time. They have no hope of slowing down or avoiding the crash, and they can be seriously injured.
That being said, if you’ve driven on the interstate, you know how hard it would be to start driving the wrong direction in the first place. There are many signs warning you not to drive in the wrong direction and not to enter an off-ramp. Once on the road, even if there’s no traffic, all of the signs and ramps will be facing the other way.
In short, even a driver who isn’t paying much attention should notice almost immediately that they’ve made a mistake. So why do these accidents still happen?
The drivers are usually impaired
As you may have guessed, impairment is often the true issue here. It causes most of these wrecks. As stated by the NTSB Director of the Office of Highway Safety: “Alcohol impairment is, by far, the single most significant factor in the majority of wrong-way driving crashes.”
So the highway does make it more than obvious that drivers are going in the wrong direction, but it’s not logistically possible to make physical barriers to prevent these crashes. If a driver is too impaired to see his or her own mistake, it will likely only become clear when that driver causes an accident or is pulled over by the police.
If you have been injured in an accident with a wrong-way driver, make sure you know what legal options you have to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes.