Understanding how wrong-way crashes occur

By |2022-01-05T18:01:40+00:00August 14th, 2019|

As previously discussed, a driver traveling in the wrong direction can have a serious and even fatal impact on other motorists and travelers on the roadways. There are many reasons why a driver might be traveling in the wrong direction on the roadway, and it is most likely due to negligence. This form of negligent driving can put many lives at risk and be the cause of a severe or fatal crash.

A wrong-way driver is one that travels in a direction opposing the legal flow of traffic. In other words, it is when a driver is driving in the wrong direction on a divided highway or access ramp. Because head-on collisions are the likely result of a wrong-way driver encountering another motorist, the severity levels of a wrong-way driving crash can be significant.

It should be noted that wrong-way driving crashes happen rather infrequently, accounting for roughly 3% of all accident occurring on high-speed divided highways. Nonetheless, when these accidents do occur, they are more likely to result in fatalities and serious collisions.

When looking at the cause of these crashes, investigators question how did the driver end up traveling in the wrong direction. Research has indicated that the vast majority of these crashes are due to driver impairment by alcohol. Drunk driving could cause a driver to travel out of their lane, cross a median, enter an exit ramp or turn on a one-way street from the opposite direction. Other causes could be distracted driving, the use of prescription medicine and medical issues often related to old age,

No matter the cause of a wrong-way crash, it is important that those impacted by the crash understand their rights. Those harmed could seek legal recourses through a personal injury action, and surviving family members of a deceased victim could file a wrongful death action for compensation. The damages and losses following a wrong-way crash can be significant, making it imperative that victims understand their rights and options.


About the Author:

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Doug Easton has practiced law since 1971. After 20 years of practicing with various large litigation firms, he founded the Law Offices of W. Douglas Easton in 1991 as a solo practitioner. In the years that followed, Doug’s sons Brian and Matt joined him in the practice and helped build the firm into a powerful force to help right the wrongs done to their clients. Much of their success over the years has stemmed from the dynamic created by the familial nature of the firm and how harmoniously they all work together, each of their individual strengths complementing and fortifying the group as a whole. Accordingly, the firm changed its name to Easton & Easton, LLP in 2014 to better reflect the true dynamic of the firm and Doug now serves as Managing Partner of Easton & Easton. In 2015, Doug was selected as a Top 100 Litigation Lawyer in California by The American Society of Legal Advocates. In addition, Doug is listed in Strathmore’s Who’s Who, and in 2008 was named its “Professional of the Year” in Medical Malpractice.
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