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25 Crash Causes: Wrong-Way Driving

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Top 25 Causes of Car Crashes


Have you ever had the scary experience of driving on a divided highway or one-way street, and suddenly another vehicle approaches from the opposite direction?

Wrong-way driving occurrences are rare but frightening, and can lead to critical crash injuries. They’re also among the top 25 causes of car crashes.

Wrong-Way Driving Statistics

According to a 2012 National Transportation Safety Board special report, wrong-way collisions account for only about 3 percent of accidents on high-speed divided highways, yet these accidents maintain a high fatality rate because of the severity in crash dynamics and amount of force involved. In fact, head-on collisions at elevated speeds are often considered the most deadly type of car crash.

Additionally, over 60 percent of wrong-way drivers have blood alcohol content levels well above the legal limit of 0.08 — the level at which a driver is considered too impaired to drive.

Other instances of wrong-way driving can be attributed to simple carelessness. Some other reasons a driver might drive in the wrong direction of travel for his or her lane include:

  • The road lacks sufficient directional markings or posts confusing signage
  • After missing a turn or exit, the driver attempts to go back the other way illegally
  • The driver does not see a “one-way” indicator for a street or ramp. At nighttime, it can be easy to misread signage on unlit roads
  • The driver is from a country accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the road and does not understand U.S. traffic regulations

Illinois Guidelines for Reducing Wrong-Way Crashes

Just last year, the Illinois Center of Transportation published a guidebook to help reduce and prevent fatal wrong-way driving crashes. Some of the recommended safety measures include:

  • Installing red retro-reflective tape or LED lights on mounting poles and signs to improve visibility
  • Installing barrier delineators to indicate when a driver is traveling the wrong way
  • Using changeable message signs to warn other cars on the highway of a wrong-way driver
  • Implementing a magnetic sensor system to detect and deter wrong-way driving
  • Modifying the geometry of interchanges to make illegal turns more difficult

The Illinois Department of Transportation has already installed large wrong-way signs at every exit ramp in the state, and introduced radar detection technology to report wrong-way drivers to law enforcement.

Despite these advancements in crash prevention, you should still take precautions on your own and keep a close eye on traffic signs and road irregularities in unfamiliar areas. If you witness a wrong-way driver or suspicious driving behavior, report it to the police immediately.

How Our Chicago Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help

Unfortunately, hundreds of auto incidents happen every day due to a vehicle going the wrong way. Wrong-way driving accidents can be challenging to avoid when they leave unsuspecting drivers with little time to react. Consequently, victims may suffer a devastating impact that results in head trauma, spinal injury, and other serious physical impairments.

If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, our experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys can help. Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is committed to fighting for the rights of car accident victims and helping you obtain the compensation that you deserve.

Contact our office today at (312) 236-2900 to learn more about your legal options, and how you can recover after an auto accident. We offer a free initial case evaluation and charge no fees unless we win your case.

Don’t miss this article: Top 25 Causes of Car Accidents and What You Can Do To Prevent Them. For this month of October, the Illinois attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. will be developing a blog series breaking down these leading causes of car crashes.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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