What happens when a motorist goes the wrong way? What causes wrong way accidents in the United States? The results can be deadly when a motorist leaves their lane and enters oncoming traffic. These types of accidents handled by auto accident lawyers can be caused by a wide range of factors. These include poor roadway design, as well as drowsy, distracted, or drunk driving. Suffering a blowout or other mechanical failure can also cause the driver to lose control and enter an oncoming lane.
The Size of the Problem
Wrong way crashes kill between 300 and 400 people per year. This represents roughly 1% of all automobile accident fatalities in the United States. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that wrong way accidents account for roughly 3% of all accidents. From 2004-2011, an average of 261 wrong way collisions were recorded causing an average of 360 fatalities per year.
These types of accidents are among the deadliest because they involve the head-on collision of two vehicles. Upon impact, the combined speed and weight of the vehicles exponentially increases the risk. Studies from California showed that wrong way accidents on a divided highway were 12 times deadlier than other types of accidents. Similar studies from Virginia showed a 27 fold increase in risk.
Causes of Wrong Way Accidents
NTSB data shows that approximately 69% of wrong-way collisions involve alcohol consumption. Further, 31% occur between midnight and 3am. This indicates drowsiness and diminished visibility are potential causes. Age and diminished mental faculties are also contributing factors. Nationwide, 15% of motorists involved in wrong-way accidents are over the age of 70.
Another common cause of wrong way accidents is poor road design and signage. In particular, at exit ramps. One study conducted in Michigan showed that approximately 60% of wrong way entries into highways occurred at partial cloverleaf interchanges. That same study showed that the risk of fatality or serious injury increased if the motorist made it to the highway. In these incidents, 6% of motorists suffered fatalities or injuries on the ramp, while 42% suffered fatalities or serious injury on the highway.
Brad Pistotnik Law is an accident attorney with attorneys, lawyers, auto accident lawyers, and abogados who represent clients in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois seeking auto accident settlement for personal injuries suffered in automobile accidents, and the survivors of those who suffer a wrongful death. Whether the accident occurred in Wichita, Liberal, Garden City, Russell, Iola, Chanute, Nevada, Pittsburg, Parsons, Independence, Coffeyville, Bartlesville, Miami, Joplin, Rich Hill, Burlington, Carthage, Vinita, Grove, Hesston, Newton, Stafford, Kingman, Harper, Anthony, Kiowa, Cherokee, Alva, Ponca City, Tonkawa, Derby, Winfield, Rush Center, Albert, Otis, Olmitz, Burdett, Rozel, Larned, Kinsley, Macksville, Alexander, Pawnee Rock, Radium, Rozel, Hanston, Belpre, Wauneta, Trenton, Imperial, Benkelman, Bird City, Brewster, Brady, Burwell, Ord, Loup City, Ravenna, Ansley, Kearney, Gibbon, Minden, Holdrege, or elsewhere in these states, our auto accident lawyers can help you pursue the compensation needed to recover from your injuries.
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