The National Transportation Safety Board recently released a special investigative report on wrong-way driving. According to the report, alcohol and drug use are main contributing factors to wrong-way driving accidents. The report further provides that more than half, and as many as one-third of wrong-way accidents involved drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol. Older drivers were also found to be more likely to be involved in wrong-way driving collisions with drivers over 70 years of age more likely to be involved in wrong-way accidents than right-way fatal driving collisions. There are many possible causes of wrong-way driving including:
- Distracted drivers. When drivers are too busy texting and driving, eating, or paying attention to passengers in the vehicle, they may enter a street or roadway traveling in the wrong direction.
- Drowsy drivers. When drivers are extremely tired they can fail to notice directional signs or which way cars are traveling on the road. In many instances, drivers fall asleep at the wheel leading to wrong-way driving.
- Elderly drivers. Some older drivers may have poor eyesight, which can cause them to misread road signs or to even enter a ramp in the wrong direction.
- Intoxicated drivers. NTSB reports provide 60 percent of fatal crashes involve drivers impaired by alcohol
- Medical emergency. Sometimes drivers have heart attacks, seizures, or other medical issues that cause them to drive erratically or pass out at the wheel, which can lead to wrong-way collisions.
Injuries from Michigan Wrong-Way Collisions
The National Transportation Highway Safety Administration provides that wrong-way collisions occur relatively infrequently, accounting for only about 3 percent of accidents on high-speed divided highways, but they are much more likely to result in fatal and serious injuries than are other types of highway accidents. The severity of an accident is understood in terms of the crash dynamics as the vast majority of wrong-way collisions on controlled-access highways are head-on events. On average, about 360 lives are lost each year in about 260 fatal wrong-way collisions.
A wrong-way collision oftentimes involves the front end of a vehicle coming into contact with the front end of another vehicle. The abrupt nature of the collision, with both vehicles traveling at about the same speed creates the high fatality rate as well as extremely serious injuries:
- Whiplash: Caused by the head and neck continuing to move forward even after the vehicles have collided, then whipping back, straining the ligaments and muscles.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: The force of a head-on collision may travel up the spine and cause injuries, such as a herniated disc or nerve damage. Victims can be paralyzed depending on the severity of the crash.
- Chest Injury: An individual’s ribcage and chest can be injured by the force of the seatbelt, the body slamming into the steering wheel, the force of the airbag or other trauma.
Michigan Automobile Accident Lawyers
It is important for all Michigan drivers to refrain from driving if they are overly tired or intoxicated to avoid a wrong-way collision. If someone you love has been injured or killed as a result of a driver who was going the wrong way on the road, it is important to speak to a Michigan auto accident attorney. Call the Michigan Injury Lawyers at 313-GET-HELP today for a free consultation.