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How Do Wrong Way Accidents Happen?

May 3, 2021Car Accidents

Collisions with wrong-way drivers can be catastrophic, and many end up being fatal. Though these accidents are preventable, they are still a problem that affects many people. In fact, it is estimated that more than 400 people die each year due to wrong-way accidents in the United States.

Why Wrong Way Accidents Happen

Driver error is the leading cause of wrong-way car accidents. The most common errors or serious mistakes made by drivers include:

  • Poorly marked exit and entrance ramps
  • Poorly designed exit and entrance ramps
  • Lack of proper signage
  • Distracted driving, including cell phone use and texting
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications
  • Driving while tired or drowsy
  • Driving under duress
  • Lack of visibility
  • Unfamiliarity with roadways

The fatality rate for wrong-way crashes is 12 to 27 percent higher than all other types of motor vehicle accidents. When they are not fatal, drivers and passengers often sustain extremely severe injuries that typically require surgery, long-term medical treatment, and rehabilitation.

Who Is Liable in a Wrong Way Car Accident?

A driver traveling the wrong way on the road is typically at fault for an accident. Drivers in California owe a duty of care to others on the road, which means they must drive safely and obey traffic laws, signs and signals. A breach of that duty of care is any instance of driver negligence, such as speeding, driving under the influence, or driving the wrong way on the highway. Therefore, when a wrong-way driver causes an accident, they are responsible for resulting damages.

However, there can be multiple liable parties. For example, a government entity can be partially responsible for confusing traffic signs or a construction company if they removed or blocked an on-ramp sign, etc. No matter who is to blame, hiring an attorney will be in your best interests. Your attorney will investigate who caused the accident and will gather evidence to support your claim for compensation.

What to Do If You See a Wrong-Way Driver

Driving defensively and staying aware of any potential threats, particularly at night, is the best way to protect yourself from a possible wrong-way driver. Wrong-way accidents are unpredictable, and most times, the driver will be traveling in your fast lane because they think they are in the slow lane. If you do happen to see a wrong-way driver, do the following:

  • Slow down
  • Move over into the slow lane or pull off onto the shoulder
  • Stay alert in case you need to make a split-second decision.
  • Call 9-1-1 when you are able to.

If an accident is inevitable, try to avoid the vehicle at all costs. It is safer to crash into a stationary object rather than hit a moving car head-on.

Speak to a St. Louis Wrong-Way Accident Lawyer Today

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a wrong-way accident, contact Goldblatt + Singer. Our St. Louis car accident attorneys offer free consultations and will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

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