Firm Logo
Call for a Free Consultation215-486-0123

Driving The Wrong Way Accidents on The Rise

October 21, 2015

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Statistics Support Deadly Threat Posed by Wrong Way Accidents and the Need for a Tough Minded Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney

Wrong way driving accidents may offer hope of compensation recovery for injured victims or the families of victims killed

They account for three percent of motor vehicle accidents, but wrong way collisions have a fatality rate that is up to 27 times higher than other types of accidents according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The reason for the high fatality rate should not be a surprise to anyone who has ever passed the scene of a traffic accident caused by a driver traveling opposite to the flow of traffic.

The result of two vehicles traveling at moderate to high rates of speed and crashing head-on is a mangled pile of what is hardly recognizable as motor vehicles. The effect on the drivers and passengers is nothing short of catastrophic.

Most highways have signs warning drivers who inadvertently find themselves traveling in the wrong direction, but what causes this type of driver activity in the first place? Studies by various state governments and federal agencies provide some clues as to why wrong way driving is increasing on America’s roads. Some of the causes include:

  • Alcohol and Drug Consumption: The NTSB found that driving under the influence was a contributing factor in almost 59 percent of the deaths caused by wrong way driving accidents during a 12-month period.
  • Signage: Missing signs, improperly placed signage and signs obstructed by foliage cause the failure to warn motorists when they have strayed into lanes of oncoming traffic. When signs or negligent road design and maintenance are the cause of an accident, the local municipality or the state might be responsible for injuries or death suffered by accident victims.
  • Road Construction: Construction zones that alter the normal traffic flows can cause drivers to become confused when entering a limited access highway and end up going the wrong way. Depending upon who is responsible for the construction site, liability for creating a situation that allowed an accident to occur could be tied to private contractors and municipal agencies.
  • Distracted Drivers: Texting while driving, talking on the cellphone, tuning the radio or programing a navigation device can be enough of a distraction to cause a motorist to enter a limited access highway going in the wrong direction. All drivers are required to operate their vehicles using reasonable care and to be attentive to road conditions and other vehicles and pedestrians. Failure to do so could be negligent conduct for which a motorist could be held liable for the consequences.

State and local government agencies are experimenting with sensors imbedded in the roadway to detect a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction. When the sensor picks up an errant vehicle, it activates flashing warning lights and a sign that warns the car or truck’s driver that the vehicle is going the wrong way.

Motorists can protect themselves from the perils of a wrong-way driver by being observant while driving. Oncoming headlights and vehicles ahead of you swerving as though to get out of something are warning signs of trouble. The following can help you be aware of a wrong-way accident threat:

  • Don’t focus on the area of the highway immediately in front of you. Be vigilant to what is going on in the distance by periodically scanning the road far ahead of you.
  • Note the location of the solid yellow line painted on the roadway. The line should always be on your left side. If it is on your right, pull off the road because you are going in the wrong direction.
  • Avoid the left lane of travel on multilane roads. Wrong-way drivers tend to drive in what they believe is their right lane, but it is, in fact, the left lane of the highway.

The award-winning Philadelphia injury attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim are savvy, hard-working advocates for clients who have suffered injuries or death in all types of accidents caused by someone else’s negligent conduct. We are dedicated to obtaining compensation to the fullest extent authorized by law for the damages you or someone you love suffers in a wrong-way car accident. Call (215) 486-0123 today for a free initial consultation and accident review by one of our attorneys, or you can contact us through our website.


Car Accidents
Firm Logo
Allentown Office609 Hamiltion St,Suite 7Allentown, PA 18101Map & Directions
Philadelphia Office1219 Spruce StPhiladelphia, PA 19107Map & Directions
Montgomery County Office411 Cherry St.Norristown, PA 19401Map & Directions
Follow Us
Make A Payment