Head-on collisions are universally recognized as one of the most dangerous types of car accidents on the road. Unfortunately, these types of collisions occur frequently when drivers cross over a double yellow line or otherwise travel opposite of the legal direction of traffic.
Wrong way driving is the cause of around three percent of auto accidents in the United States, but these types of collisions cause a disproportionately high number of fatal collisions. Just recently, for example, a wrong-way accident in Ohio led to two deaths and one injury according to News Now, prompting an investigation by the Ohio State Patrol. The National Transportation Safety Board has been working to reduce the number of wrong-way accidents that occur since 1968 and has made almost 50 different suggestions to lawmakers and legislatures in order to try to make the roads safer.
Avoiding Wrong Way Wrecks
The NTSB's regulations have addressed a lot of different issues to make the roads safer, but almost half of the agency's suggestions related to reducing the risks presented by drunk drivers.
Intoxicated motorists are significantly more likely to be involved in wrong way collisions. In fact, a study of 1,566 fatal wrong way collisions that took place between 2004 and 2009 found that around 60 percent of the victims who were killed going in the wrong direction were over the legal limit. An experienced car accident lawyer in Columbus, OH knows that these drivers weren't just a little bit impaired either. A total of 59 percent of the intoxicated people had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher. This means they had consumed twice the legal limit of alcoholic beverages.
The NTSB believes that the risk of drunk driving accidents can be reduced if every driver who has a drunk driving conviction is required to have an ignition interlock device installed on his vehicle. IIDs are currently required for some but not all drunk driving offenders. Since nine percent of the drivers involved in fatal wrong way wrecks had a drunk driving arrest within three years of the time of their deadly accident, this NTSB recommendation could perhaps go a long way towards reducing collisions caused by motorists traveling in the wrong direction.
Wrong way accidents also have other causes besides drunk driving too. Drivers who enter onto the off-ramp of a highway could become involved in a wrong way accident. It is important for every motorist to read signs carefully and if there is any confusion, avoid entering the highway.
Drowsy driving is also another primary cause of wrong way wrecks since a motorist who falls asleep behind the wheel could drift across a double yellow line and into the opposite lane. You need to be sure you are getting enough sleep and that you are awake and alert enough to drive. If you find yourself nodding off behind the wheel, pull over and get some rest so you don't put yourself and others at risk.
Finally, drivers should pay careful attention to the road in front of them and look for headlights going in the wrong direction or for vehicles in front suddenly braking as these can be signs of wrong-way drivers.
The Smith Law Office serves clients throughout Columbus, OH. Call 800-930-SCOTT today to schedule a free consultation.