You are driving home on a dark highway late one summer night when headlights suddenly blind your line of sight. A wrong-way driver comes speeding towards you. Your heart pumps frantically as you white-knuckle the wheel in pure horror. Surely this can’t be happening.
It can – and it does. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), on average, about 360 people die each year as a result of wrong-way collisions.
An all too common occurrence on our nation’s highways, wrong-way driving often leads to the most feared traffic accident, the head-on collision. And with the recent spike in wrong-way driving accidents, odds are, you or someone you know may end up in this life-threatening situation.
Hopefully you’ll never encounter a wrong-way driver, but if you do remember these five helpful tips:1. Recognize a wrong-way driver as soon as possible
The more time you have to react, the higher the likelihood of avoiding an accident. It's important to scan the highway ahead as far as you can see.
Be extra cautious of wrong-way drivers at night and on weekends. Thirty-one percent of wrong-way collisions occur between midnight and 3 a.m. while 57 percent occur on the weekends.2. Go right, right away
Move to the right lane as quickly as you can. About 69 percent of fatal wrong-way collisions involve alcohol. Impaired motorists are notorious for driving slowly in the oncoming left lane (their right) to avoid being stopped for speeding. Remember, wrong-way drivers think they are going in the right direction.3. Get noticed
If you can’t move out of the way and are pinned between road barriers or other motorists, attempt to grab the attention of the wrong-way driver. Honk your horn and flash your lights in hopes they move.4. Turn your vehicle sideways
The most deadly type of accident is the head on collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10 percent of all roadway fatalities are the result of head on collisions. If you are unable to clear the area, turn your vehicle sideways to avoid being hit head on. Although serious injury is likely, you will improve your odds of survival.
5. Call 911
Never assume someone else has called the police on a wrong-way driver. If you have successfully avoided danger, pull over and immediately call the authorities.
Preventing wrong-way fatalities starts with stopping motorists from driving the wrong way. A dialog needs to start at the state and local level. What wrong way prevention is on your local highways? Learn more about the TAPCO Wrong-Way Driver Detection System.