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What causes drivers to drive the wrong way on a highway?

This month, we covered the tragic story of a wrong-way highway accident in Midland, Texas, that took the lives of two young parents and left their two daughters orphaned. After an investigation into the crash, authorities found that the wrong-way driver was intoxicated and traveling west in the eastbound lanes of highway 191 in the seconds before the deadly collision.

Wrong Way Drivers
Wrong Way Drivers – How it Happens

Sadly, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is the leading cause of wrong-way accidents around the country. Let’s take a look at the eight leading ways these often-deadly, head-on crashes occur:

  • Drugs & Alcohol. Getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks can slow your reaction times and cloud your judgment. It’s no surprise that the majority (around 60%) of wrong-way crashes are caused by drunk drivers.
  • Poor signage or road design. In some cases, wrong-way driving will reoccur at the same place, be it an on-ramp, off-ramp, or intersection. These incidents may point to a serious issue with the road design or signage that confuses drivers and causes them to enter a roadway in the wrong direction. Wrong-way accidents that are due to a lack of signs or a confusing road design could lead to a claim against the entity that designed the road.
  • Medical issues and old age. Some wrong-way driving accidents happen when a driver suffers from a medical condition while behind the wheel or when an older driver suffers from age- or dementia-related confusion. In a few cases we read about, diabetic drivers suffering from blood sugar imbalances have driven the wrong way down a highway or interstate as well.
  • Suicide/Intentional Crashes. It can be hard to believe and hard to understand, but very rarely, a driver may veer into oncoming traffic intentionally. Some choose to commit suicide by causing a head-on accident, while others may simply be trying to harm others and themselves.
  • Bad GPS Directions. Anyone with a GPS device (such as a Tom-Tom or mobile phone) knows that the driving directions are not always accurate. However, some drivers trust the electronic device even when it guides them down the wrong side of a ramp or onto the wrong side of the interstate.
  • Criminals Eluding Police. Car chases are responsible for hundreds of serious car accident injuries and deaths each year in the United States. In some cases, someone evading the police will either accidentally or intentionally drive the wrong way down a street or highway in an attempt to evade capture.
  • Inexperienced Drivers. Many drivers simply can’t understand how anyone could accidentally drive the wrong way down the interstate – but to novice drivers (especially in busy downtown areas), the mistake is easier to make.
  • Mental Illness. A number of psychological problems and mental conditions can cloud a person’s thinking and influence their actions, including dementia, memory issues, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.

When analyzing a wrong-way driving accident, it is vital to understand why the accident took place, whether there was more than one factor at play, and how we can prevent similar future accident.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a Texas wrong way driving crash, speak with our Dallas car accident attorneys today. The personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Rasansky Law Firm have the experience and knowledge to help. Call 1-877-405-4313 today to schedule a free, confidential meeting.

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