Toward the end of January, a serious accident occurred near Highway 195 in which one man was killed in a collision involving a semi truck. The Washington State Patrol reports that a man was driving a vehicle when he crossed the center line and collided with a semi truck that was headed in the opposite direction. The driver of the smaller vehicle was later pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Law enforcement also reports that both drivers were wearing their seatbelts at the time that the accident occurred. Based on statistics compiled by the United States Department of Transportation, approximately 265 individuals each year are killed as a result of wrong way accidents. These accidents are one of the deadliest types of car accidents, and it can be helpful for all drivers to understand some basic details about how these accidents occur.
Common Causes of Wrong Way Accidents
There are a number of ways in which wrong way accidents are known to occur, but some of the most common causes include:
- Distracted drivers who are too busy paying attention to cell phones, loud music, or other passengers in the car to pay attention to conditions on the road are at risk of crossing the center line of traffic and ending up in deadly accidents.
- Driving while intoxicated is the cause of nearly half of all wrong way accidents throughout the country. Intoxicated drivers are more likely to lose track of where they are and end up traveling in the wrong direction.
- Lack of proper signage has the potential to result in drivers entering roads going the wrong way. This type of accident is particularly common when drivers are not familiar with the areas where they are traveling.
Advice on Avoiding Wrong Way Accidents
Unfortunately because wrong way accidents often occur in areas with low visibility and drivers frequently have only a short amount of time in which to react, avoiding these types of accidents is often particularly difficult. Although it can be difficult, some of the steps that a person can take to avoid wrong way accidents include the following:
- Avoid keeping your eyes on only the short distance in front of your vehicle. Instead, it is a better to scan the road and conditions that lie far ahead of you for anything that might arise.
- Many wrong way accidents occur because drivers are either intoxicated by alcohol or impaired by drugs. In many situations, intoxicated drivers end up traveling on roads where they think they have a right to be. If you encounter this type of driver, it is critical to swerve quickly into the right lane because the intoxicated driver will often try to drive in what he or she believes is the right lane but what is actually the left lane.
- If you notice a driver traveling the wrong way, honk your horn and turn on your vehicle's high beams in an effort to signify to the other driver that he or she is headed in the wrong direction.
- If it is possible to do so, pull your vehicle off the road entirely to avoid ending up in a wrong way accident.
- After avoiding a driver who is headed the wrong way, you should immediately contact law enforcement so that efforts can be made to stop the driver before anyone is hurt.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney Today
Each year, the lives of a large number of motorists are seriously changed as a result of wrong way accidents. If you or a loved one is involved in this type of accident, you should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact West Law Office to schedule an initial free consultation during which time we will discuss your various available options to pursue compensation.