How Common is Wrong-Way Driving?

According to the US Department of Transportation and Safety, approximately 350 people die every year from wrong-way driving accidents in the United States. In the Chicago area, an auto accident attorney commonly sees head-on collisions in wrong-way auto accidents that result in serious injuries and fatalities.

(Article continues below Infographic)

Infographic_How Common is Wrong-Way Driving


What Causes Wrong-Way Auto Accidents?

According to recent data compiled by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there are common characteristics related to wrong-way auto accidents. Studies and statistics show:

  • Many wrong-way accidents are caused by a vehicle entering an exit ramp, due to a driver’s unfamiliarity with an area or unclear signage.
  • Seven out of nine wrong-way accidents occur in the lane closest to the median.
  • Wrong-way collisions occur more often on weekends and at night. NTSB statistics show that 78 percent of accidents occur between 6 pm and 6 am.
  • Drivers over the age of 70 are often involved in wrong-way accidents. This is typically related to vision problems which make it difficult to read signs.
  • The majority of wrong-way drivers are intoxicated. According to NTSB statistics, more than half of wrong-way accidents are caused by drunk drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .15 or higher, twice the legal limit.

While most cities and states, including Illinois, have improved signs and barriers to prevent wrong-way accidents, drunk driving continues to be a problem in collisions seen by an auto accident attorney. NTSB statistics show that many wrong-way drivers have previous DUI convictions showing serious injuries or fatalities to other drivers. Recently in Chicago, a man was convicted of aggravated DUI that caused a fatal wrong-way crash on Lake Shore Drive.

Preventing Wrong-Way Accidents

Although most cities and states have standard “ONE-WAY”, “WRONG-WAY”, or “DO NOT ENTER” signs, they are often not visible enough at night when most wrong-way accidents occur. Although these signs have letters that reflect the light from a car’s head lights, many drivers don’t see them in time at night when visibility is low. As a result, the Department of Transportation is currently installing larger “WRONG-WAY” and “DO NOT ENTER” signs on many freeway exits and in areas where wrong-way driving accidents are a problem.

To avoid a collision, The US Department of Transportation and Safety recommends that any driver confronted with an oncoming wrong-way driver should flash their high beams on and off, pull over to the side of the road as quickly as possible, and call 911 to report the incident.


Does Your case Have Merit?

When you contact Orzoff Law Offices, you will receive a free initial consultation to answer your questions and focus on your goals. Call 847-564-0285 or send us an email using our quick contact form.