Wrong-way driving, also known as counterflow driving, occurs when a driver is operating his or her motor vehicle against the direction of traffic.* Wrong-way driving happens in parking garages, parking lots, and single lane and multiple lane roadways.
The common causes of wrong-way accidents are driver impairment, lack of driving experience, and inattentive driving. In some reported cases, wrong-way driving is caused by confusing road markings or signage. People recklessly drive the wrong-way when they have missed a turn or try to create a shortcut.
Wrong-way driving on a divided interstate or highway is exceptionally deadly due to the rate of speed on those roadways. A head-on collision caused by a wrong-way driver that occurs on an interstate will typically result in fatalities. In the United States, more than 300 people are tragically killed in these types of accidents each year. Twenty-four out of every one hundred wrong-way, head-on accidents on interstates involve at least one fatality.
One approach to eliminate the problem of wrong-way driving is to develop better highway engineering techniques. Highway engineering can be used to improve road design, construction, and maintenance to ensure roadways are safer. Several new safety initiatives, such as Vision Zero, have turned to roadway engineering to resolve trouble spot areas that have a history of high numbers of accidents.
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