Ever pull into a feeder lane and wonder if you are driving the right direction? Have you seen drivers decide to pull into an exit ramp in what seems like the last second? Driving the wrong way is a significant cause for automotive accidents. When one vehicle is driving the wrong way, other drivers are forced to attempt to maneuver to safety in hopes of avoiding a head-on car collision. In fact, wrong way car accidents are more likely to result in fatality or serious injury than any other highway accident. There are specific nuances and legal ramifications with accidents involving vehicles driving the wrong way.
While there are many reasons that a driver may mistakenly drive the wrong direction on a roadway, several factors rise to the top of the list. The number one cause of wrong way driving accidents is the use of alcohol and drugs. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 60% of wrong way accidents studied involved alcohol. While under the influence, drivers are less likely to heed traffic signs and patterns.
Along with alcohol consumption being a contributor to wrong way accidents, drowsy driving is also a major culprit. A majority of wrong way collisions occur in the overnight hours, between 6pm and 6am – key sleeping hours. Driving while fatigued reduces response time, and your likelihood to pay attention to traffic patterns and “do not enter” or “wrong way” highway signs.
Other forms of distracted driving may lead to wrong way driving accidents. Mobile phone usage, whether it be texting while driving or failing to use your cell phone with hands-free setting, is a significant reason for distracted driving. When driving while distracted your chances of taking the wrong ramp on an interstate or side of a feeder lane increases.
It is critical to drive without distractions because navigating the roadways in Hampton Roads is no easy task. There are several interstates, roundabouts, and feeder lanes from Virginia Beach to Hampton that are challenging to traverse. One example is the challenging 3-way intersection that frustrates many drivers in Downtown Williamsburg, locals have aptly coined Confusion Corner.
If an automobile driving the wrong way results in an accident, that driver WILL be held responsible, criminally and civilly (lawsuit). Driving under the influence, distracted driving, and driving while fatigued, or even “being mistaken” are not legal excuses that will protect the driver. If there were issues with signage that resulted in a driver driving the wrong way, other parties could be at fault. Local government entities are responsible for ensuring that roadway signs are clearly marked and visible to drivers. If you are involved in an accident that is a result of wrong way driving, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney. An experienced auto accident attorney will fight for your best interest and the compensation you deserve.
If you witness a driver going the wrong way, your safety comes first. Pull your vehicle over immediately in hopes of avoiding a collision. Next, call 911 to report the driver to authorities. Your phone call and quick thinking just might prevent harm to you and other vehicles in the path of danger. Once reported, stopping the wrong way driver is in the hands of the police. They will take steps to stop the vehicle that is driving the wrong way.
Injuries resulting from a wrong way driving collision are often quite serious and sometimes even fatal. What should you do after the auto accident? As with any accident, seek medical attention immediately if you are injured by a wrong way driver. Act swiftly in consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your personal injury attorney will guide you through the collection of evidence. As with any car-related personal injury accident, medical bills associated with physical injuries can be immense. Your experienced personal injury lawyer will help fight for your best interest especially where covering the cost of medical bills and other compensation is concerned.
The Hunter Law Firm is based in Hampton Roads Virginia, with offices in Hampton, Williamsburg, Gloucester, and Chesapeake. Our award-winning attorneys serve all surrounding communities, including Virginia Beach, Newport News, Suffolk, Surry, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, York County and Poquoson. Contact Hunter Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our expert automotive accident personal injury lawyers.