Protecting Yourself From Wrong-Way Drivers
Every driver has a responsibility to drive safely and to obey road rules and regulations. To be able to drive on the streets is a privilege that no one must abuse. However, news of those who ignore the law and end up causing road crashes are not uncommon. Wrong-way drivers can cause head-on collisions, which can result in severe injuries, or worse, even death.
Wrong-way driving is the act of driving in the direction opposite the proper legal flow of traffic in divided highways or ramps. Auto accidents caused by wrong-way driving account to only 3% of accidents in divided high-speed highways in the country. However, these wrong-way driving accidents are more likely to result in severe injuries and fatality.
There were 347 wrong-way crashes in Michigan for the year 2017. These crashes resulted in 13 deaths. In 37% of these wrong-way crashes, the drivers were intoxicated with either drugs or alcohol.
Causes of Wrong-Way Driving
There are many contributing factors that can cause wrong-way driving. A report published by the National Transportation Safety Board delved into the roots of wrong-way driving. The report found that in most of these wrong-way driving accidents, the drivers were impaired by drugs or alcohol. Another impairment issue that became apparent is due to medical conditions and aging.
The possible causes of wrong-way driving include the following:
- The driver is sleepy.
Motorists, like everybody, get tired and sleepy. When drivers are too tired, they sometimes fail to notice directional street signs. They may also fail to notice that they are driving on the wrong side of the road. Some exhausted drivers even fall asleep at the wheel, leading to wrong-way driving.
- The driver is elderly.
Most elderly drivers have medical conditions which can affect their driving. Poor eyesight, for example, can lead them to interpret a road sign wrong.
- The driver is intoxicated.
Intoxicated drivers cause about 60% of car crashes. Drivers whose senses are impaired by alcohol are highly likely to engage in wrong-way driving.
- There is an emergency.
It is not uncommon for motorists to fall into heart attacks or seizures while on the wheel. Some drivers can pass out and lose control, which can lead to wrong-way driving.
How to Protect Yourself from Wrong-Way Drivers
You have no way of predicting that a wrong-way driver will come your way. However, you can be prepared by being attentive and by practicing defensive driving. You have to be focused on the road and avoid distractions. Be always on the lookout for threats coming your way.
Here’s what you can do when a wrong-way driver is coming your way.
- Slow down.
- Move into the slow lane.
- Get off the highway.
- Get into the right.
- Call 911.
Prevention of Wrong-Way Driving
The state of Michigan has come up with a promising solution to reduce deadly wrong-way crashes. Earlier this year, the Michigan Department of Transportation installed a new warning system in highway ramps. The system will make use of bright flashing lights to alert drivers that they are driving in the wrong direction.
The new signs were installed in the exit ramps in I-94 near Jackson, I-94 in Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo. The signs have sensors that can detect if a vehicle is coming in from the wrong direction. Cameras will likewise let authorities see what triggered the warning signs to flash.
The effectiveness of the system is still up for assessment. If proven effective in curbing down the number of wrong-way drivers and crashes, it may be deployed in other locations as well.
Are you a Victim of a Wrong-Way Driver? Call The Clark Law Office Now.
The Clark Law Office is a leading personal injury law firm in Michigan. Our personal injury lawyers are passionate and dedicated in helping you, not the big insurance companies.
We have served the people of Michigan for over thirty years, helping them get the just compensation that they deserve. If you’ve been involved in a wrong-way crash in Michigan, call us at (517) 347-6900. Our experienced lawyers will help you every step of the way.