When you learned to drive, your instructor probably prepared you for a variety of scenarios—traffic jams, delays caused by trains, and someone trying to merge into your lane without seeing you. However, few things prepare you for the fear you experience when someone is driving full speed towards you, putting you seconds away from a head-on crash.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for a growing number of car accident victims across the United States. Wrong-way accidents are trending upward across the country, leaving devastation in their wake. If you or someone you love has been injured in one of these car crashes, learn more about your next step by calling Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell’s Chatom office at 251-847-2237 or our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483.
These Crashes Are Often Fatal or Catastrophic
The danger of wrong-way accidents is the fact that wrong-way drivers rarely realize their mistakes until it’s too late. When someone rear-ends someone, they generally do so while braking, which lessens the impact. When a driver sideswipes another car, it’s generally at a more moderate pace than you would expect with a lane change.
A driver going the wrong way who believes they have the right of way is likely to be driving at a normal speed for that road, as is the driver who is actually going the correct way. Two cars colliding at such high speeds are likely to suffer a severe accident. Furthermore, these accidents often happen on busy highways like State Highway 56 and Interstate 65, where speed limits are considerably higher.
Certain Populations Are Driving This Change
When legislators and researchers started looking into this troubling trend, they found that a large part of the increase came from elderly drivers. Drivers in this age group are prone to errors in judgment or general confusion that may lead them to turn into an oncoming lane. Older drivers may become disoriented, especially when driving at night or in areas that are unfamiliar to them.
However, this isn’t the only group affecting the rate of wrong-way accidents. Impaired driving appears to be the number-one factor contributing to this change. People driving alone are also more likely to turn into an oncoming traffic lane, as they do not have anyone there to correct them and guide them during difficult patches of traffic.
Clear Signage to Limit Crashes
Some lawmakers and police officers have recommended ramping up signage showing drivers where they can and cannot drive. This may be enough to help disoriented drivers or those unfamiliar with the area get back on track. It’s unlikely, however, to make a difference in crashes caused by drunk drivers. Since this is a multifaceted problem, it’s likely that a multifaceted approach will be necessary to decrease crash numbers.
Tougher Standards May Be Necessary
Legislators are also grappling with the fact that they may have to get tougher on laws that protect drivers and passengers. To start, more legislation targeting impaired drivers may be a necessary part of bringing accident numbers back down. This approach will vary from state to state, as some tend to be harsher on impaired drivers and others take a more rehabilitative approach to repeat offenders.
Depending on how statistics break down in each area, some states may choose to be. More restrictive with license renewal standards. In most states, drivers must renew their license more frequently upon reaching a certain age.
They may also have to take vision and knowledge tests more frequently to prove that they are safe to drive on the road. States may continue in this vein to limit the number of elderly drivers or simply ensure that only elderly drivers who meet strict standards are able to keep their licenses.
Regardless of how different states approach this problem, it’s unlikely to be a quick fix. Accident rates took years to get this high, and it will likely take years of legislative and public safety work to get them back down to an acceptable level.
Seek Compensation for Your Wrong-Way Crash with Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell
A wrong-way accident can leave you financially devastated, physically injured, and not sure about what to do next. The team at Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell is here to help. With our convenient Bay Minette and Chatom offices, we’re ready to discuss your options and help you pursue full and fair compensation. To get started, call our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483, call our Chatom office at 251-847-3115, or .