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Why do wrong-way accidents happen?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Personal Injury

Technically, most car accidents should never happen. The vast majority of them – over 90% – are caused by human error. In theory, if drivers simply didn’t make mistakes, there would be a massive decline in accidents. This is actually one of the big potential benefits of self-driving cars, although the technology is not there yet.

However, there’s one type of accident that really seems like it shouldn’t occur: A wrong-way accident. The streets are usually well-marked, and the interstates are controlled by on-ramps and off-ramps. It’s very clear that the driver is going in the wrong direction and they should know this before they even start to do so. Why do these often fatal accidents continue to happen?

The role of driver impairment

There are some minor reasons that can be cited, such as a teenage driver who was unfamiliar with the rules of the road or an elderly driver who perhaps got confused due to a cognitive disorder. But these are fairly rare.

What you will find is that the most common reason cited is driver impairment. This happens when a driver has been consuming alcohol or using illegal drugs. It can also happen due to the use of some prescription medications. A driver who is under the influence is going to be more likely to make such an egregious error, and it is less likely that they will realize it has happened before they have caused an accident.

Those who have been injured in these accidents must make sure they know how to seek compensation for medical bills and other costs.