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blog home Car Accidents “He came out of nowhere!” What causes wrong-way accidents, and how can I avoid them?

“He came out of nowhere!” What causes wrong-way accidents, and how can I avoid them?

By Ken Gibson on September 22, 2017

Wrong-way accidents are the most potentially deadly collisions that someone can be involved in. That’s because the force of impact created by two vehicles traveling in opposite directions is much greater than the impact created by a vehicle hitting a stationary object, or hitting another vehicle traveling in the same direction.

The lethal nature of wrong-way accidents was demonstrated in Mathews last year when a 24-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a head-on collision when he crossed the center line going around a curve, and collided with a Toyota Rav.

Approximately 360 lives are lost in wrong-way collisions in an average year, according to National Transportation Safety Board statistics. Only about 2 percent of all accidents are head-on, but they are responsible for more than 10 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities.

While not all wrong-way accidents are fatal, it’s rare that one happens without injury. The most common injuries include whiplash, spinal injuries, brain injuries, broken and shattered bones, crushed organs, and other catastrophic damage that can result in paralysis.

Why would a driver go the wrong way?

The three most common reasons that drivers end up moving against traffic are that they:

  • Get onto the wrong entrance ramp to a freeway;
  • Turn the wrong way on a one-way street;
  • Drift into the oncoming lane, across the center line.

Why might a driver get into these situations?

The most common reasons that drivers go the wrong way are:

  • Driver is impaired. (An estimated 60 percent of wrong-way accidents involve alcohol or drugs.)
  • Driver is distracted (often by looking at a cell phone, texting, or turning around to deal with children in the backseat).
  • Driver is fatigued or falling asleep.
  • Driver is confused (may be due to old age, medication, mental illness, etc.)
  • There is poor signage or road design.
  • Driver is unfamiliar with the area.
  • Driver receives inaccurate GPS directions.

How can I avoid being in a wrong-way accident?

The only way to avoid a wrong-way accident is through vigilance. Be constantly aware of your surroundings and the vehicles in front, back, and beside you. As the public service announcement in the 1960s used to say, “Watch out for the other guy.”

If you’ve been injured in a wrong-way car accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and much more. To get your claim started, call the experienced Virginia car accident lawyers at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. Dial (804) 413-6777 and get on the road to justice.

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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
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    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
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    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.