What leads to wrong-way accidents?

Wrong-way crashes typically happen when a car gets on a divided highway in the wrong direction, often mistaking an off-ramp for an on-ramp or the other way around. Since these wrecks are usually head-on collisions at high speeds, they are often fatal.

Unfortunately, they’re becoming more and more frequent. Between 2010 and 2014, there were about 375 deaths each year from wrong-way accidents. Between 2015 and 2018, there were around 500 deaths each year from the same problem, which represents a 34% increase.

Why are wrong-way crashes on the rise?

It’s a complex issue without any easy answers, but there are some likely possibilities:

  • People are drinking more. Intoxication is probably the number one factor behind wrong-way accidents, and studies have consistently shown that people in the United States are imbibing a lot more wine and spirits than they used to just a few decades ago. Despite all the efforts to the contrary, drunk driving is still a significant issue.
  • There are a lot of older drivers. People are living longer and keeping their licenses to drive well into their 70s and beyond. Unfortunately, many older people develop problems with their night vision, which can cause them to miss road signs or other signals that they’re going the wrong way after dark. Dementia, too, could be a contributing factor to some wrong-way wrecks.
  • The roads themselves can be confusing. Poorly designed roadways, signs that aren’t placed correctly and construction zones that aren’t easy to navigate all contribute to the problem of wrong-way drivers.

Whatever the causes, there’s no question that wrong-way wrecks are among the most deadly. They take hundreds of lives and damage countless others each year. If you’ve been injured in a wrong-way crash caused by another driver or your loved one was killed, it may be time to find out more about your legal options.

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