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Why do people cause wrong-way accidents on the interstate?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | car accidents |

If you’re driving through the S-curve on 131, you certainly don’t expect to see headlights coming in your direction. The same is true if you’re driving outside of Grand Rapids, perhaps heading up north toward Rockford. Traffic is divided by walls and medians, so there should never be vehicles approaching you directly. They would be driving entirely the wrong way on the highway.

However, these types of accidents certainly do occur from time to time. They represent a catastrophic failure on the part of one driver, who has entered the highway moving in the wrong direction, against the flow of traffic. This can cause very dangerous accidents for two reasons. The first is that they are head-on collisions, which are very likely to be fatal. The second is that these accidents often happen at high speeds and drivers have no time to react to try to avoid the crash.

So why do they happen?

When researchers look into why these types of accidents occur, the main cause that they usually find is alcohol use. Drivers who enter the highway going the wrong direction are impaired and likely over the legal limit. This impairment has caused some level of confusion, perhaps causing them to mistake an exit ramp for an on-ramp.

After all, there are numerous signs at the bottom of every ramp warning drivers about which direction they should be traveling. But these on and off ramps are sometimes close to one another, so a driver could inadvertently pass the signs and turn in the wrong direction. If alcohol leads to this kind of mistake, it often does not take very long for a serious accident to occur, especially if traffic levels are heavy.

What can you do?

Unfortunately, this is a risk that you may face. Even if you drive safely, other drivers could be impaired and cause accidents. It’s important to know about the legal options you have to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.


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