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One of the scariest things that can happen to a person while driving is seeing another car driving the wrong-way toward them on a busy street. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 350 people die annually in the United States due to wrong-way accidents. Houston is no exception, as one recent fatal wrong-way crash in the Cypress area points out.
In January, a BMW was driving the wrong way near Greenhouse Road, when it crashed into the front of a pickup truck. The BMW immediately burst into flames, with one occupant pronounced dead when responders arrived while others involved in the crash were taken to a nearby hospital.
Wrong-way accidents are also incredibly frightening to other drivers who are unexpectedly placed in harms way. These collisions are more likely to occur at night due to a combination of tired drivers, intoxicated drivers, and lack of visibility. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), 78% of all wrong way crashes happen between the hours of 6 PM and 6 AM.
Most of the time, those who drive the wrong way are found to be intoxicated at the time. In fact, drunk drivers cause more than half of all wrong-way accidents.
Frequently, head-on collisions happen at the hands of those driving the wrong way, because they either cross the center line of the road or turn the wrong way onto a highway exit. These collisions result in more than 10% of all car accident fatalities because the full momentum of both vehicles maximizes the force of impact.
As mentioned previously, most head-on, wrong-way collisions happen at night. As a result of dark conditions, drivers are more apt to veer into oncoming lanes without noticing until it’s too late. In addition to driving at night, other causes of head-on collisions include:
Not paying attention while driving can make it incredibly easy to lose control of a vehicle. Even a quick glance at a phone or turning to change the song on the radio can be enough movement to cause your vehicle to veer into another lane.
Driver reflexes tend to become slower as we age. Because of this, if an older driver veers into oncoming traffic, they may not be able to fix their mistake until it’s too late. Elderly drivers can become confused and distracted by the layout of the road or traffic signs and can drive on the wrong side of the road or enter the off-ramp by mistake.
When an accident causes a multi-vehicle pileup, the cars stuck in the middle can be pushed out toward parallel lanes and into oncoming traffic.
The number one cause of head-on collisions is drunk driving or intoxicated driving. Drugs and alcohol significantly impair a driver’s vision, reflexes, and judgment, as well as the driver’s ability to adequately gauge distance and direction, all of which can lead to wrong-way accidents and head-on collisions.
Large potholes, insufficient medians, broken guardrails, poor lighting, road debris, and construction can all potentially cause a driver to accidentally veer into oncoming traffic.
Wrong-way crashes can be incredibly traumatic. Most of these collisions can result in catastrophic injuries, including broken bones, head and spinal trauma, internal injuries, and crush damage. These injuries bring about major medical expenses and can leave victims feeling hopeless and unsure of what to do.
The experienced car accident attorneys at Adame Garza LLP handle motor vehicle injury claims across Houston. Our experienced team will analyze the details of your crash and determine the best course of action for your case. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident due to a wrong-way diver, our team of trial lawyers can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.