Imagine you are driving your vehicle, heading to your destination, when suddenly you see another vehicle heading straight for you, driving in the wrong direction. What do you do?
Our Virginia and Carolinas personal injury firm has reported on countless numbers of car accidents which were caused by people driving the wrong way. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), almost 400 people are killed each year in accidents caused by wrong way driving (WWD). Because of the way vehicles are traveling towards each other, they are usually more severe – and deadly – than other types of car crashes.
In a report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there were common factors found in WWD accidents were found. These factors included:
- The most common type of wrong way driving was a vehicle entering an exit ramp. The report points out that this could be caused by the driver being unfamiliar with the area he or she is driving in or the exit had signage which was not clear;
- The majority of WWD accidents occur in the lane which is closest to the road’s median;
- There is a higher probability of a WWD accident occurring at night compared to the daylight hours. Almost 80 percent of these crashes happen between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Some of the possible reasons cited were lack of visibility, drowsy drivers, and drivers who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and
- More WWD crashes occur on the weekends than during the week.
Another common factor found in wrong way driving accidents was that the majority of these drivers are operating their vehicles drunk. Almost 75 percent of WWD are caused by a drunk driver and in most cases, the drivers blood alcohol content (BAC) is almost twice the legal limit.
The report points out that although states and municipalities may be able to improve road designs and signage in areas where wrong way accidents have been a problem, in the majority of cases, the toughest weapon against WWD accidents is to stop drunk driving. The NTSB called on all states to adopt stricter drunk driving laws, including requiring anyone who has even one DUI conviction to use an ignition interlock device (IID). These devices prevent a vehicle from starting if a driver has been drinking.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, contact an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the driver for your pain and loss.