Car accidents remain a leading cause of injury among all age groups. In fact, every year, about 4.4 million Americans suffer serious enough injuries in car accidents to need emergency medical care. While some accidents lead to minor injuries, wrong-way crashes often cause catastrophic ones.
A wrong-way accident occurs when a motorist drives his or her vehicle into oncoming traffic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these crashes are much more likely to be fatal than other types of motor vehicle accidents. Here are four reasons wrong-way accidents often occur.
1. Drunk and distracted drivers
Drivers who have blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit may not be able to recognize when they are driving the wrong way. Likewise, distracted drivers who are not paying enough attention to road signs and traffic patterns may inadvertently turn the wrong direction onto a one-way highway.
2. Elderly drivers
The AAA Foundation reports drivers over the age of 70 to have a higher risk of driving the wrong way on roadways than younger motorists. This may be due to vision impairments, confusion, anxiety and other factors.
3. Confusing roadways
Detours, changing traffic patterns and unfamiliar roadways may also contribute to wrong-way crashes. Put simply, if signs, road markers and pylons are not clear, roads may be too confusing for drivers to navigate safely.
4. Vehicle damage and inclement weather
Even though driver error often plays a role in wrong-way collisions, vehicle damage may also be to blame. For example, if a car’s tire explodes on the highway, its driver may lose control and end up on the wrong side of the road. Inclement weather may lead to a similar outcome.
Because of the potential for head-on collisions, wrong-way accidents are a major concern for traffic safety advocates. Ultimately, pursuing financial compensation may be an essential part of the recovery process for those who suffer life-altering injuries in wrong-way crashes.