Indianapolis Wrong-Way Accidents
When negligent drivers operate their vehicles on the wrong side of the road, they can cause devastating vehicular accidents. Wrong-way driving accidents are not one of the more common kinds of traffic accidents, but they are some of the most life-threatening accidents. Wrong-way accidents often result in serious injuries and even death, especially when a larger vehicle is involved, such as a truck or bus.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), around 400 Americans lose their lives every year because of wrong-way crashes. It’s no surprise that these fatal accidents often receive news coverage, but while media outlets often report high-profile wrong-way accidents that occur on major interstates, wrong-way accidents on divided highways and rural roads rarely receive much news coverage.
Wrong-way accidents can occur anywhere at any time on interstates, neighborhood roads, rural roads, and any other location where drivers operate vehicles. It’s vitally important that you learn common causes of wrong-way accidents as well as how to prevent them. Preventing a head-on collision can save someone’s life, and we all need to perform our due diligence to try to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities associated with wrong-way accidents.
Causes of Indiana Wrong-Way Accidents
There are many different causes of wrong-way accidents, and multiple factors can contribute to a person driving on the wrong side of the road. While some causes of wrong-way accidents are explicit acts of negligence, some head-on collisions result from improper visibility and signage. Some major contributors to wrong-way accidents include:
Drugs and Alcohol
When drivers experience a wrong-way accident, there’s often drugs or alcohol involved. Drunk drivers or people who drive under the influence often become confused or miss important road signs and other indicators that they’re driving in the wrong direction. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 69% of fatal wrong-way accidents involved someone who was under the influence of alcohol.
Because of the high number of wrong-way accidents that occur due to alcohol, people are far more likely to experience a wrong-way collision on a weekend. 57% of wrong-way car accidents occur on the weekend because more people stay out late and drink alcohol.
Those who cause motor vehicle accidents in the united states due to being under the influence may face criminal charges and felonies, especially if someone was injured or killed in the accident.
Driving While Tired
Another leading cause of wrong-way driver accidents is driving while tired. Someone who operates a vehicle at high speed while feeling fatigued or sleepy can become confused and end up on the wrong side of the road. They may also make a mistake while merging or turn the wrong way when entering an interstate or highway. Some drivers even fall asleep and drift into oncoming traffic.
The most common times in which tired drivers cause wrong-way accidents are between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. as well as in the late afternoon.
Lack of Visibility
Poor visibility can cause a person to miss important signage or become confused leading to a head-on collision. This is especially common in inclement and harsh weather conditions such as snow, rain, and fog. A lack of visibility can also contribute to one’s confusion if they already suffer from poor eyesight or are elderly.
Make sure to be extra careful when driving through unfavorable conditions that could limit your ability to see the road clearly. Additionally, always make sure that your windshield wipers are functioning properly so that you can see through your windshield easily.
Some wrong-way accidents have occurred due to a person suffering from a cognitive or physical impairment. Although the person suffering from a medical condition may not appear to be as negligent as someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can still be held liable if they drove on the wrong side of the road. They could be held financially liable and can be held accountable in the event that they caused a personal injury or death of another driver or passenger.
Lack of Signage
Improper signage can result in a devastating wrong-way accident. Roadways should have indicators stating that drivers are operating their vehicles traveling in the wrong direction, but, unfortunately, many roads lack proper signage. This is especially a problem in more rural areas, where there may be fewer drivers and fewer resources for signage. A lack of signage can become a serious problem on entrance ramps, where a driver may assume they’re entering the correct ramp, but they’re actually driving on the wrong side of the road.
A common source of blocked signs and views on the road is out-of-control foliage. If foliage is overgrown and blocking a driver’s view when turning, they may turn on the incorrect side of the road. Additionally, overgrown foliage may obscure critical signage indicating that drivers are on the wrong side.
Driving While Distracted
When a driver is distracted, they can turn onto an incorrect road and miss signs warning them that they’re driving the wrong way. The most common source of distracted driving is people operating a cell phone while at the wheel. While Indiana has laws prohibiting the use of handheld devices at the wheel, numerous drivers still use their phones and can cause serious wrong-way accidents. Additional sources of distracted driving can include adjusting a radio, eating, using a navigation system, and many more.
Sadly, elderly drivers are often the cause of wrong-way accidents. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), drivers over the age of 70 are more likely to be involved in a wrong-way traffic accident than younger people. Older drivers often have poorer reflexes and eyesight, and they may become confused while at the wheel. Additionally, elderly drivers are often on medications that can end up affecting their ability to drive their vehicles safely.
Reckless and Impatient Driving
Drivers may perform reckless actions in an attempt to save themselves time. Some drivers will consciously drive on the wrong side of the road after missing a turn, which can result in a wrong-way accident. Additionally, drivers may purposefully drive on the wrong side of the road to try and reach their destinations faster.
Additional Contributing Factors
The majority of wrong-way collisions occur when a driver enters an exit ramp because they become confused or miss signage that indicates that they’re entering the wrong side of the road.
Additionally, it’s critical to remember that many causes of wrong-way accidents become a far greater threat at night, especially between midnight and 6 a.m. Drivers who have poor vision, feel fatigued, or are under the influence will have a harder time navigating at night. Elderly drivers or those taking medications may also have a harder time navigating after sunset because of confusion and lack of vision.
The driver who caused the wrong-way accident is typically found to be at fault for the wreck, but there are instances in which local or state municipalities may be responsible because of a lack of signage, insufficient lighting, or public foliage that may have become overgrown.
Preventing Wrong-Way Car Accidents
The government and police play a critical role in preventing head-on collisions, but we all need to do our part in preventing wrong-way accidents while on the road. You need to stay vigilant while driving and be on the lookout for bad driving behavior, especially at night and on the weekend. You can greatly decrease your likelihood of experiencing a wrong-way wreck if you can anticipate a driver entering the wrong side of the road or if you notice that they’re driving on the wrong side sooner. Another way you can decrease your likelihood of experiencing a head-on collision is by remaining in the right lane of the road. When fatigued, inebriated, or confused drivers drift into oncoming traffic, they will often drive in the left lane since it’s closer in proximity to their correct lane.
If you see someone who is driving on the wrong side of the road, you should honk your horn and flash your high beams to get their attention. You should also pull over, call 911, and report the person. The sooner the police can stop the reckless driver, the chances of the culprit causing a devastating wreck decrease. Reporting a driver on the wrong side of the road can prevent them from seriously injuring or even killing someone, so you need to do your due diligence and call 911.
Common Injuries Caused by Wrong-Way Accidents
Because wrong-way accidents frequently result in head-on collisions, they cause incredibly serious and even fatal injuries. Head-on collisions are especially devastating for drivers because of the force generated from both vehicles driving in opposite directions.
Some common injuries that occur as a result of driving the wrong-way include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Paralysis/Spinal injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Organ damage and internal bleeding
- Broken and shattered bones
Wrong-way accidents are also an incredibly common source of wrongful death, which is a civil action surviving family members of the deceased bring against the person who is allegedly responsible for the death.
Those who survive wrong-way accidents have serious physical and emotional injuries that last a lifetime, including disabilities, scarring, trauma, and fear. Injuries sustained from a wrong-way accident can be costly and cause the victim to lose wages. If you experienced injuries in a wrong-way accident, you need to hold the person responsible accountable and seek compensation for your injuries from an experienced accident lawyer.
Call Indiana Wrong-Way Car Accident Attorneys
If you or a family were injured in a wrong-way car accident, contact an Indiana lawyer immediately so that they can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Medical bills associated with car accident injuries can be incredibly expensive, and that’s before even taking vehicle damages and lost wages into consideration. Get the money you deserve by contacting a car accident lawyer at Crossen Law Firm. We offer 24/7 assistance over the phone, so contact us at 317-401-8626 or click here to schedule a free consultation.
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