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How Do Wrong-Way Accidents Happen?

By Butler Prather LLP on May 3, 2021

Wrong-way vehicle accidents often result in devastating injuries for those involved. Unfortunately, these incidents occur fairly regularly throughout the state of Georgia. Many people think wrong-way accidents occur only in the busier areas of the state, but the reality is that wrong-way accidents are very likely to occur on rural roadways as well. Here, we want to take a look at how wrong-way accidents occur. The hope is that you and your family members will recognize situations where these incidents may arise and take steps to avoid major collisions.

Understanding Wrong-Way Collisions in Georgia

One of the most comprehensive studies of wrong-way collisions comes from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). While the information presented in this study is from 2012, we will be interlacing the data here with more recent data that has confirmed the comprehensive NTSB results.

  • In a recent reporting year, the NTSB says that as much as 50% to 75% of all wrong-way accidents were caused by drivers impaired by alcohol. The NTSB says that 59% of wrong-way drivers had a blood alcohol content level at or above .15%.
  • Drivers above the age of 70 are over-represented as drivers who cause wrong-way collisions.
  • Night driving is also a risk factor. The NTSB says that 78% of all fatal wrong-way collisions occur between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM during their study year. Additionally, a high number of wrong-way collisions occurred on weekends.

Studies have shown that the primary origin of wrong-way movements (the way that most drivers end up on the wrong side of the road) is drivers entering an exit ramp. Other common causes of drivers ending up going the wrong-way include them making U-turns or using emergency turnarounds in the medians.

Wrong-Way Collisions Regularly Result in Severe Injuries

It is incredibly important to understand that wrong-way collisions are incidents that can lead to significant injuries for every party involved. When these incidents occur, this typically means that there are two vehicles traveling at relatively high rates of speed right at one another. The force of these collisions means that those inside the vehicles will likely sustain a severe injury and possibly even be killed because of the incident.

For those who do survive wrong-way collisions, the following injuries are not uncommon:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord trauma with paralysis
  • Open head wounds
  • Crush injuries
  • Dismemberment or amputations
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Significant scarring or disfigurement

Victims of wrong-way collision accidents often need significant medical care for months or even years following the injury. This can lead to a victim not being able to work and support themselves or their family. Additionally, a wrong-way collision incident could result in permanent disabilities for those involved.

How Can You Prevent Wrong-Way Collisions in Georgia?

One of the absolute best ways to prevent wrong-way car accidents is to avoid driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs at all costs. The NTSB has even recommended that any person who has a DUI conviction be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

If you will be driving at night, you need to be aware of the fact that wrong-way collisions are much more likely to occur. Be aware of your surroundings, and if you see any vehicle coming towards you, quickly check your surroundings and see if it is safe for you to pull to the side of the road.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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