Wrong-way auto accidents are the deadliest type of accident since they usually involve a high-speed, head-on collision. They’re terrifying; they typically happen suddenly with little to no warning.

It can often be impossible to get out of the way in time. But suppose you’re lucky enough to survive a wrong-way auto accident. In that case, you could suffer a long-term, debilitating injury that dramatically alters your quality of life (more on that below).

Why do wrong-way accidents happen? How on earth do they happen? 

Some statistics explain why. In today’s blog, we’re reviewing them and helping you understand how you can best avoid a wrong-way accident on the road because we want you and your family to enjoy life while staying safe. 

Why Wrong-Way Driving Accidents Happen

Wrong-way driving auto accidents have become increasingly common and, unfortunately, account for hundreds of deaths every year. But how do these accidents happen? Circumstances that lead to wrong-way accidents include:

  • Drunk Driving: It probably comes with no surprise that drunk driving is at the very top of our list. Being impaired behind the wheel has devastating consequences as alcohol affects your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
    It also impacts your ability to see and understand the signs you are reading. A drunk driver may mistakenly enter an exit ramp and wind up, causing a fatal head-on collision.
  • Difficulty Understanding Signs: Despite what you might think, drunk drivers are not the only ones who experience difficulty reading signs. When visibility is low, drivers with below-average eyesight may struggle to make out instructions on what to do. Driving students can also have this problem since they’re still learning what all of the signs mean.
  • Lack of Signs: In rural areas, clearly marked signs are scarce or often missing. In such cases, drivers are left to assume which ramp is the entrance ramp. Not only that, but drivers often need to assume the speed limit/a safe driving speed. If they’re driving too quickly for the road they’re on, it can be even harder to avoid a wrong-way driver when one suddenly appears.
  • Poor Visibility: Inclement weather, such as fog, heavy rain, and snow, can affect your ability to read signs. We recommend pulling over until your visibility improves if this happens to you. It’s not worth a life-threatening accident, even if you’re only a few minutes from home.
  • Distracted Driving: Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, turning the dial on the radio, or talking to passengers may mistakenly enter an exit ramp. It’s critical to pay attention to the road when you’re driving. Music, texting, and talk can wait until later.
  • Drowsy Driving: If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, you could miss important signage indicating where you should go. There are many roadway signs warning you to pull over if you get drowsy, and there’s a good reason for this! A nap could be the difference between life and death.
  • Confusing or Poor Ramp Design: There is no uniform design for entrance and exit ramps. They vary by state. Parallel ramps can be particularly confusing for some drivers, especially if you’re not a local. 

Facts About Wrong-Way Driving

Most of the time, drivers responsible for wrong-way accidents are under the influence of alcohol. In fact, they account for over 60% of all wrong-way accidents. However, drunk drivers are not the only cause of wrong-way accidents. Even sober drivers with full mental capacity can cause a crash. Here are some facts about wrong-way driving:

  • Wrong-way accidents aren’t as common as other kinds of collisions (like head-on collisions). However, because of the speed and force with which they happen, they are often deadly and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Wrong-way driving accidents are more common on the weekend than during the week due mainly to the increased percentage of intoxicated drivers on the road.
  • Wrong-way accidents are more likely to happen at night. Poor visibility, fatigue, and alcohol play a role in this.
  • Entering an exit ramp is the most common way in which drivers end up going in the wrong direction.
  • Wrong-way signage could prevent some of the accidents that take place.

Most Common Injuries from Wrong-Way Accidents

Most wrong-way accidents result in fatalities; but if not, you’re unlikely to walk away uninjured. Why? There’s a ton of force and impact at play when two hards collide full-speed into each other. 

These are the most common types of injuries from wrong-way accidents:

  • Head trauma (concussions, TBIs)
  • Neck, back, and spine trauma
  • Broken facial bones
  • Chest and thoracic trauma
  • Broken bones
  • Wrongful death

These injuries are severe. While they won’t all kill you on impact, they can result in death. Head trauma can permanently alter your life if you suffer a severe traumatic brain injury that requires you to relearn skills you could once do in the blink of an eye. Neck, back, or spine trauma could be minor but paralyze you. Broken facial bones can alter your appearance. And we could go on.

Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton

Have you been in a wrong-way accident? You deserve compensation for your injuries, vehicular repairs (or new vehicle), and pain and suffering. The prospect of a lawsuit can be overwhelming and intimidating. But don’t worry. Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton is here to help.

With over 25 years of legal experience, the experts at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton are well equipped to help you navigate the law and receive compensation for your accident. We’re located in northern Utah with offices in West Jordan, South Jordan, Provo, Orem, and Saratoga Springs. 

We offer free case evaluations to see how we can best help you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. You can call us at 801.921.8360 or use our contact form to get in touch with us. Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton is here to help you through this challenging time so that you can get back to your everyday life!