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Reasons for wrong-way car accidents

Few accidents are as dangerous as a wrong-way accident on an interstate. For one thing, unlike standard head-on collisions — already very dangerous in their own right — drivers don’t expect oncoming traffic on a divided highway. Additionally, these roads tend to have higher speed limits, and drivers will often break even those high limits. That could lead to a crash with two cars driving directly at one another at 70 miles per hour.

These frequently fatal wrecks happen for a number of reasons. One is certainly driver impairment, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board. This impairment could be due to drugs or alcohol. Impaired drivers may be more likely to drive up an exit ramp, thinking it’s an entrance ramp and not knowing they’ve made a mistake until they’re in traffic.

The report also noted that it could be wise to design highways so that entrance ramps and exit ramps look clearly different. Many are quite similar, so, even with plenty of signage, drivers could be confused.

Furthermore, the report noted that issues with older drivers may have to be addressed. These could also be considered impairments. For instance, older drivers who have degenerative brain disorders commonly associated with aging may make mistakes or get confused about things that seem very clear to younger drivers.

These are just a few of the reasons for wrong-way crashes, which continue to be a problem year in and year out. If you are seriously injured in one of these devastating crashes, or if a loved one is killed, you may want to know if you can seek compensation.

Source: NTSB, “Highway Special Investigation Report,” accessed April 21, 2017

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