Wrong Way Vehicles Are a Recipe for Disaster


April 12, 2012

While there may be many situations that can be extremely frightening when faced with a perspective collision with another car, truck or SUV, it is hard to imagine a scarier proposition than barreling down the interstate at 70 mph hour only to see the headlights of another vehicle coming straight for you.

When vehicles travel the wrong way against the flow of traffic, they pose a virtually unparalleled potential for an impact with an enormous amount of energy as well as devastating injuries and wrongful death. This terrifying scenario is much more common than you might think. If the vehicle is moving at interstate speeds going the wrong way against the flow of traffic, the risk of a head-on collision or multi-vehicle crash is a high probability.

A recent, serious collision northeast of Metro Atlanta on I-85 serves as an example. A woman driving a Ford Explorer traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-85 in the vicinity of Braselton in Jackson County suffered serious injuries when she hit a tractor-trailer with a glancing impact before colliding with another big rig and a van. The accident victim suffered critical injuries after being ejected from her SUV. While the accident was still under investigation when this article was written, media reports indicate that police believe the accident was alcohol-related.

Data from federal highway safety agencies indicate that wrong way driving accidents on interstates is a growing problem. Motor vehicle accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that between 1 and 2 out of every hundred fatalities are caused by wrong way drivers on interstates. These numbers seem to be on the rise as approximately 400 people are involved in fatal wrong way interstate accidents annually based on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

It is hardly surprising that the lion's share of these interstate collisions involve drivers that are impaired by drugs or alcohol. While estimates regarding the exact numbers vary, a recent study found that between 50-75% of wrong way, fatal accidents involve drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol. Drivers that are impaired are more likely to be confused and enter off ramps to the freeway or may be less aware of warning signs. Other causes of wrong way interstate accidents include poorly marked-off ramps, inattentive drivers, or elderly drivers that are confused. It is probably not a coincidence that both wrong way interstate accidents and drunken driving accidents generally are more typical at night. Not only is visibility worse at night, which makes it harder to see appropriate signage, but drunken driving also is more common at night.

If you are involved in a collision with a driver going the wrong way on an interstate, our compassionate and dedicated team of attorneys at Montlick and Associates understand the enormous physical and financial obstacles you may face. Our Atlanta car accident law firm works hard for our clients and use our best efforts to effectively represent our clients and seek the best possible outcome in their case. The Atlanta car accident lawyers of Montlick and Associates are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.