Four wrong-way crashes in the space of four days this month resulted in several San Diego families losing loved ones. Only one of the accidents did not result in fatalities.
Wrong-way collisions are not that frequent, making up only 1% of crashes on the state’s highways. Yet, when they do happen, they are likely to result in death or severe injury. Caltrans figures suggest around 37 people die in them each year, and many more are injured.
Why are wrong way collisions so dangerous?
Imagine you are heading down the highway at a steady 65 mph. Another driver is happily doing the same, except they are traveling in the wrong direction. The crash’s impact will be forceful than a crash where vehicles are moving in the same direction. It’s the difference between two football players running head-on at each other, compared to one tackling the other from behind.
What causes wrong-way accidents?
Caltrans found that in most cases, the wrong-way driver was “severely impaired.” That could be due to lack of sleep or due to drugs or alcohol. Anyone alert will soon notice they are heading the wrong way, even if they somehow took the wrong ramp in the first place.
Caltrans has taken extra measures to warn people not to enter via an exit ramp. These include static signs, flashing signs, reflective markings and cameras with sensors that alert the Highway Patrol. Yet as the recent crashes show, that alone is not enough.
If someone driving the wrong way injures you or kills a loved one in a crash, it is crucial to understand why they were traveling in the wrong direction to ensure you receive maximum compensation.