Wrong-way car accidents occur when motorists end up in the wrong lane and are driving against the flow of traffic. If the driver is able to correct their mistake quickly and return to their lane, a potentially accident can be avoided. However, if the motorist is driving on a busy highway or they are intoxicated, a wrong-way accident can result.
Wrong-way accidents often result in severe injuries and fatalities.In most cases, when you make safety a priority, keep your attention focused on the road, and avoid any distractions, it is unlikely that you will end up driving in the wrong direction. In fact, the majority of wrong-way accidents are the result of some type of negligent behavior, such as distracted driving and drunk driving. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), over half of all wrong-way accidents are caused by drunk drivers. In many cases, their blood alcohol level shows that they consumed twice the legal limit or more before getting behind the wheel of their car.
The following are examples of other common causes of wrong-way car accidents:
- Advanced age: A significant percentage of wrong-way accidents are caused by elderly drivers due to vision problems, dementia, or other health complications.
- Distractions: When a driver’s attention is not focused on the road, there is an increased risk of a serious car accident. For example, if you are reading or sending a text and your eyes are off the road for a matter of seconds, you may start to veer into the wrong lane or turn onto the wrong highway ramp.
- Unfamiliar roadways: Motorists who are unfamiliar with an area may not understand how to navigate a traffic circle or may be more likely to turn onto a one-way street going in the wrong direction.
- Detours: If traffic is re-routed due to construction or some other emergency, it can cause confusion, particularly if the driver is not familiar with the area. If the proper signage is missing or the lane-shifting techniques are not clearly marked, motorists could end up driving in the wrong direction.
- Poor road design: Traffic circles, highway interchanges, and jug handles can be very confusing, particularly if entrance and exit ramps are parallel. This can increase the risk of a wrong-way accident if driver who is turning left accidentally turns too shallowly, plunging them in the path of traffic.
- Badly marked road signs: Lack of Do Not Enter signs, ramps that have overgrown foliage that block traffic signs, or inadequate lighting increase the risk of a wrong-way accident. Proper signage is extremely important, as it can help prevent a motorist who is unfamiliar with the area from entering an empty stretch of highway going in the wrong direction.
- Defective auto equipment: If defective tires, brakes, steering system, or other equipment causes the motorist to veer into the wrong lane, causing a wrong-way car accident, the product designer or manufacturer may be held liable for the accident.
- Drowsy driving: Drowsy drivers have slower reaction times and are more likely to become distracted or start to doze off while driving. This increases the risk of a wrong-way accident if they drift into the wrong lane, enter a ramp going in the wrong direction, or turn onto a one-way street.
- Other unsafe driving behavior: Other driving behaviors that can cause a wrong-way accident include speeding and unsafe passing, particularly when a motorist tries to pass another car in a no-passing zone.
What Injuries Are Caused by Wrong-Way Car Accidents?
Since wrong-way accidents often cause head-on collisions with other vehicles, the resulting injuries can be devastating or even fatal. The following are common injuries seen in wrong-way accidents:
- Broken bones, including facial bones, arms, hands, collarbone, legs, pelvis, and ribs.
- Cuts and lacerations.
- Chest and thoracic trauma.
- Neck, back, and spine trauma.
- Head trauma, including concussions and brain injuries.
- Internal injuries to the organs in the chest or abdomen.
- Wrongful death.
What Damages Are Available in Wrong-Way Accident Cases?
If you are injured in a wrong-way car accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be eligible for financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In order to reach a successful settlement outcome, you must be able to prove that the other driver failed to exercise the duty of care to the other motorists on the road by driving in the wrong direction, which caused the accident and resulted in your injuries. A car accident lawyer will assist you with the claims process and determine if you are eligible for the following damages:
- All medical costs associated with the injury.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Property damage.
- Pain and suffering.
How Can I Avoid a Wrong-Way Accident?
The Department of Transportation is installing larger Do Not Enter and Wrong-Way signs to alert drivers that it is a one-way street and motorists should not enter. However, these signs do not always prevent wrong-way accidents that occur on a busy highway at night when visibility is low. They also do not prevent a motorist from getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
To reduce the risk of being involved in a devastating wrong-way car accident, keep the following safety tips in mind:
- If you see another motorist driving in the wrong direction, put as much space between you and the other driver, and call 911 to report the vehicle.
- Stay awake and alert while driving and avoid any distractions. Pay attention to your surroundings and the other vehicles in the vicinity.
- Stay in the furthest lane to the right when driving at night. Most wrong-way accidents occur at night when a motorist drifts out of their lane and into oncoming traffic.
- Keep your headlights on when driving at night. If a motorist is driving in the wrong lane, this will alert the driver that they are going in the wrong direction.
- Do not talk or text on the phone or engage in any other distracting behavior while driving.
- Do not drink and drive.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Due to the severity of a wrong-way accident and the fact that they often result in a head-on collision, the injuries tend to be quite severe. A skilled car accident lawyer will help you navigate the claims process. A car accident lawyer will provide the following services:
- Connect you to rental car providers and auto repair shops.
- Secure the best possible settlement.
- Recovery for the loss of your vehicle.
- Connect you with a health care provider.
- Provide access to pre-settlement loans.
Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Who Have Been Injured in Wrong-Way Car Accidents
If you have been seriously injured in a wrong-way car accident, it is in your best interest to contact one of our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.