Wrong-way crashes often result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries. In fact, a recent auto accident fatality in Mauldin, South Carolina was caused by a wrong-way crash when the driver of a sedan hit a box truck on I-385. This is just one of the many serious wrong-way accidents that occur in Greenville every year.
What Is a Wrong-Way Auto Accident?
A wrong-way auto accident is a type of car crash that occurs when a vehicle is traveling in the opposite direction of the designated traffic flow. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but it often results in head-on collisions which can be extremely serious or even fatal.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there are approximately 500 wrong-way auto accidents annually in the United States. This amounts to about 1% of all traffic accidents nationwide.
Causes of Wrong-Way Car Accidents
Wrong-way auto accidents are incredibly dangerous and unfortunately can occur due to a variety of factors. While driver errors are the most common cause, some specific factors are often involved, including the following:
- Intoxication: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs judgment, reaction time, and spatial awareness, making it far more likely for a driver to enter the wrong lane, miss important signage, and drive the wrong way on the roadway.
- Distractions: Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road, such as using a phone, eating, or talking to passengers, can lead to them making mistakes like wrong turns or missing exits.
- Drowsiness: Driving while fatigued can mimic the effects of intoxication, causing impaired judgment and delayed reaction times, increasing the risk of entering the wrong lane.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can affect vision, cognitive function, or motor skills, potentially leading to wrong-way driving.
- Unfamiliarity with the Road: Drivers unfamiliar with an area might miss turns or misread signage, accidentally ending up on the wrong side of the road.
- Age: Both young and older drivers may be more susceptible to making mistakes like wrong turns due to inexperience or diminished cognitive function.
- Poorly Marked Ramps: Confusing or inadequate signage at highway entrances and exits can lead drivers to mistakenly enter the wrong way. This is common when combined with a driver error.
- Lack of Physical Barriers: Some highway designs lack medians or other physical barriers to prevent wrong-way driving. This can be confusing for people, especially if they are unfamiliar with the area.
- Construction Zones: Temporary changes in traffic flow due to construction can be confusing and increase the risk of wrong-way driving. This can even confuse people who are familiar with the area.
How to Avoid Wrong-Way Crashes
Drivers need to be vigilant and proactive in preventing wrong-way accidents. Some steps you can take include:
- Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Minimize distractions while driving.
- Get enough rest before driving long distances.
- Pay close attention to road signs and markings.
- Be cautious when unfamiliar with an area.
- Advocate for improved road design and signage.
By staying informed and practicing safe driving habits, you can reduce your chances of being in a wrong-way accident.
What To Do If You’re Involved in a Wrong-Way Auto Accident
Being involved in a wrong-way auto accident can be a disorienting experience. The sudden nature of the collision and the potential for serious injuries can leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, it’s crucial to stay calm and take the following steps to ensure your safety and well-being:
1. Check for Injuries
If you or anyone else involved in the accident is injured, call 911 immediately. Even if you think you’re not hurt, it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
2. Move to a Safe Location
If your vehicle is still drivable and it’s safe to do so, move it to the side of the road away from traffic. If your vehicle is disabled or it’s unsafe to move, stay inside with your seatbelt on and hazard lights flashing.
3. Call 911 Immediately
Report the accident and request emergency medical assistance if necessary. Provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible, including your location, the number of vehicles involved, and any injuries sustained
4. Cooperate with Authorities
Police officers and paramedics will arrive on the scene to investigate the accident and provide medical assistance. Stay calm and answer their questions truthfully. Do not admit fault or discuss the accident with anyone except for the police and your personal injury attorney.
5. Get Contact Information from Others
Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information. You should also obtain the names and contact information for any eye witnesses.
6. File a Police Report
This is an important step, even if you think the accident was minor. The police accident report will document the accident and may be helpful if you need to file an insurance claim later.
7. Get Ongoing Medical Attention
Even if you think you’re not hurt, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor after an accident. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not be immediately apparent. Follow all recommendations from your doctor and follow up with physical therapists and other specialists as needed.
8. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Call a personal injury attorney as soon as you are able. They can notify your insurance company and guide you through the claims process. You should not speak to the insurance companies on your own, as they may use your statement against you and try to blame you for the accident.
Contact Attorney Venus Poe for Wrong-Way Accident Assistance
Attorney Venus Poe and her team of legal professionals are waiting to help you. They know what causes wrong-way auto accidents, and they understand North Carolina laws that apply to these incidents. They will use their knowledge to benefit your case and help you get the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Contact or call car accident lawyer Venus Poe today at (864) 963-0310 to schedule a case consultation.