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Are Wrong-Way Crashes Preventable?

On Behalf of The Foley Law Firm | February 18, 2021

There are some parts of Colorado where you can travel for long stretches of highways while barely crossing paths with anyone, only to eventually happen upon a small, bustling town tucked away in the middle of nowhere. Desolate areas like the ones that separate Colorado's major cities can be very dangerous for motorists. Drivers run a high risk of having a head-on crash, which many safety analysts argue is completely preventable.

Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows how wrong-way, or head-on, collisions happen most often in rural areas. At least 13% of these crashes result in a motorist's death.

What leads to most wrong-way crashes?

A motorist crossing the center line in to oncoming traffic on a highway is the most common reason for these crashes. Motorists do occasionally drive their cars in the wrong direction up an interstate off-ramp, though. These drivers are often accelerating in expectation of joining other motorists on the interstate. The motorist getting off on the exit is often decelerating. The combination of a fast-moving vehicle and a slow-moving one isn't a good one. It often results in a poor outcome.

These crashes may also occur if a motorist is traveling too fast for conditions and loses control of their vehicle, causing them to cross into oncoming traffic. Drowsiness, intoxication and illegal passing can all result in head-on crashes as well.

Ways that motorists can avoid wrong-way accidents

Drivers can minimize their chances of having a head-on crash by being more observant of street markings and signs. Any motorist who happens upon another driver traveling in the wrong direction should apply their brakes while also sounding their horn and flashing their lights to get the other driver’s attention. Drivers should also steer their vehicle to the right in to a parking lot, shoulder or ditch to avoid a collision.

Wrong-way accidents often have catastrophic endings. Motorists who are lucky enough to survive such incidents often suffer lasting impairments such as brain damage, spinal injuries, amputations or other conditions requiring long-term care. An experienced attorney can help you recover the compensation necessary to ensure that you receive the best quality care moving forward.

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