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Why do people drive the wrong way on the interstate?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

There are few car accidents as dangerous as a wrong-way accident on the interstate. This is a head-on crash, which is highly dangerous on its own, even with modern safety systems like airbags, crumple zones and seatbelts. Additionally, drivers on the interstate may be going around 75 miles an hour. This means that their combined speed is closer to 150 miles an hour, creating a very violent collision.

Of course, though, this is a type of collision that should never occur. Interstates are divided by walls or medians and are controlled by on-ramps and off-ramps. Drivers should always be heading in the same direction, while merging in and out of the roadway via the ramps. Head on collisions should be impossible unless someone is driving entirely the wrong direction. Why would that happen?

Alcohol impairment

More than anything else, these wrong-way accidents happen because of alcohol impairment on the part of one of the drivers. They’re intoxicated and so they overlook the wrong-way signs at the bottom of the ramp – and they may not even understand that they’re driving in the wrong direction. Many drunk drivers are just as surprised as their victims when they cause an accident.

That said, alcohol impairment is not the only reason. The use of other substances, such as illegal drugs, prescription medications or marijuana, could also cause someone to drive the wrong way on the interstate. Some very young drivers could make mistakes because of their lack of experience, while very old drivers could make similar errors because they’re facing cognitive decline at their age. But alcohol does cause more accidents than these other issues, so it is the main focus for safety experts and lawmakers.

Even if you stay sober while you drive, you could be hit and significantly injured by another driver. Be sure you know how to seek compensation for medical bills and related costs.