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Could you avoid a wrong-way collision?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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Statistically, there is no deadlier type of motor vehicle accident on a highway or interstate than a head-on collision. Physics dictates that the impact is far greater from the energy generated by the two vehicles traveling at speed than it would be if one driver hit a stationary item.

Another reason why these interstate collisions so often prove to be fatal for the occupants is that they can be impossible to avoid on an interstate where the drivers literally have nowhere to go to avoid the oncoming wrong-way driver. Unlike on a street or country back road where one driver could take a ditch or veer off the road onto a sidewalk or grassy area, they are literally trapped in their lane of traffic with another vehicle speeding towards them.

If you react quickly, you could reduce damage

Since avoiding the head-on collision and/or striking almost anything but the oncoming vehicle is preferable in these nightmarish cases, the following tips could one day save your life.

  • Constantly scan the horizon ahead. An extra second or two of awareness could be the difference between surviving the crash and becoming a statistic. Always maintain situational awareness while driving.
  • If you see an oncoming car, avoid the collision if at all possible. Striking a ditch, guardrail or fence is preferable than hitting the other car and in most cases, increases your odds of survival.
  • When a collision is inevitable, reduce speed by braking. Some head-on collisions cannot be avoided with defensive driving techniques. At the least, try to reduce the impact by braking and slowing your forward motion.
  • When driving after dark, stick to the right lane. If a wrong-way motorist enters the interstate, they typically will be traveling in the right lane, i.e., your left lane.
  • Keep your headlights on. Seeing your headlights approaching could alert an impaired or confused driver that they are traveling in the wrong direction. Flashing your lights off and on could also indicate to the driver that they are headed in the wrong direction.

Driving and impairment don’t mix

A great percentage of wrong-way collisions occur due to the wrong-way motorist being intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs. Vowing never to get behind the wheel after drinking or doing drugs can keep you and all who share the road with you much safer.

Hold negligent drivers liable for the damage they cause

If you have the misfortune to be hit by a wrong-way driver, you can pursue civil justice by filing a claim for damages against the liable party. This is separate from any criminal charges that could arise from the driver’s negligent actions that led to the crash.