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Why do wrong-way accidents happen?

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

There are many different safety devices in place to prevent wrong-way accidents. For instance, the interstate highway system has on-ramps and off-ramps so that drivers are guaranteed to be going in the proper direction as long as they follow the correct ramp. Additionally, interstates will have numerous signs indicating that a driver is traveling the wrong way.

But despite all this, drivers do sometimes end up heading the wrong way down the road, and they can cause very severe accidents. Remember that the cumulative speed of two vehicles when they collide is important. Most accidents on the interstate happen at around 70 miles an hour, but they are often rear-end accidents or sideswipes, so the full force of the speed is not enacted on the people within the vehicles. But on the interstate, the cars would be traveling at a combined 140 miles an hour, making it a very devastating crash.

Impairment is the main cause

But if these accidents are so dangerous and preventable, why do they happen? The main reason is that the drivers are impaired by alcohol. But impairment could also come from marijuana, painkillers or illegal drugs.

The issue with impairment is that it causes drivers to make mistakes that they wouldn’t make when they’re sober. A drunk driver may never see a wrong-way sign. They may be more likely to confuse an off-ramp with an on-ramp. Some drivers are so heavily under the influence that they don’t even remember driving the next day.

This makes it a very difficult issue to combat, as road designs and safety features can only do so much. Serious accidents are likely to continue. Those who suffer injuries or lose loved ones need to know about all their legal options.