Wrong-way driving incidents happen when a driver gets confused about a highway on-ramp and ends up driving against traffic. It’s a terrifying mistake for any driver to make — but equally terrifying for other drivers on the road.
Do you know what to do if you encounter a wrong-way driver? Knowing these few simple steps may save your life:
1.) Stay in the right-hand lane
Most wrong-way incidents happen at night when it’s easiest to get confused about the entrance and exit zones on a highway. Alcohol is a common factor in wrong-way driving incidents, so drivers who don’t realize they’re on the wrong side of the road usually stick to the left (which they think is the right lane), hoping to avoid detection. If you stay toward the right, you’ll likely avoid them.
2.) Stay focused on the road.
The sooner you spot a wrong-way driver, the sooner you can react. Keeping your eyes focused ahead can help you see a wrong-way driver with time to spare.
3.) Slow down the moment you spot a wrong-way driver.
Wrong-way drivers are obviously confused and need extra time to process what they see. You want to give the other driver plenty of time to realize that you’re facing each other on the road. Assume that the other driver has slower-than-normal reaction times and slow down as much as possible.
4.) Steer to the right to avoid a head-on collision.
Even if there’s another car in the lane beside you, your odds of avoiding a serious injury are better from a side impact than a frontal collision. If you’re already in the right lane, you may be able to drive onto the shoulder of the road.
5.) When possible, avoid driving during the danger times.
Most wrong-way incidents take place between midnight and 5 in the morning. The peak hours are between 2 and 3 in the morning, particularly on weekends. You may want to be especially careful if you’re driving near a zone known for its nightlife.
If you are injured due to an accident with a wrong-way driver, it may be necessary to file a claim for compensation in order to recover your losses — but you’re far better off if you can avoid an accident in the first place.