Wrong-way accidents claim an average of 350 lives per year, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). Wrong-way driving is when someone behind the wheel travels in the opposite direction of traffic, which can lead to a catastrophic accident.

These accidents make up for just 3% of all motor vehicle accidents annually, however, they are the most fatal accidents by a long-shot, according to a study done by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The fatality rate of wrong-way accidents is estimated to be up to 27% higher than any other type of auto accident. Wrong-way accidents are almost always head-on collisions, meaning that even in the event of a non-fatal accident, the injuries sustained are usually catastrophic.

Common injuries from these accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Paralysis
  • Brain injury
  • Severe burns

Why Do These Accidents Happen?

Unfortunately, the most common cause of wrong-way accidents is driver error— with the majority of these incidents stemming from a driver entering through the exit of a freeway. There are many reasons why these severe mistakes may be made, with the most common being:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving distracted
  • Driving in unfamiliar areas
  • Poor roadway signage
  • Driving drowsy
  • Poor visibility

Of the reasons listed above, driving under the influence ranks first on the list, with somewhere between 50 to 70 percent of all wrong-way accidents linking back to a driver under the influence— with the majority of these accidents taking place on weekend nights between midnight and 3 am.

What Can Be Done?

As seen above, these accidents are contributed to human error, meaning the most effective solution is simply to pay more attention and to avoid doing driving under the influence and driving distracted. Los Angeles officials have recognized the dangers associated with wrong-way accidents and have put measures in place to help prevent them, such as:

  • Flashing, vibrant “WRONG WAY” signs in high volume areas
  • Arrows on the pavement showing which way the traffic is going
  • Spikes to prevent wrong-way entry to specific locations
  • Improved lighting conditions on roadways with poor visibility

These implementations are all a step in the right direction, unfortunately, as long as distracted and negligent drivers exist, there will not be a guaranteed way to prevent these accidents from taking place— meaning these accidents will continue to occur. This fact is one reason why you should always drive as defensively as possible because you never know when disaster may happen.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a wrong-way driver, our team of trusted Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald Marcus would love the opportunity to discuss how we can help you recover what you’ve lost.

Call us today (800) 905-8777 to discuss your situation over a free consultation.