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Why do wrong-way interstate accidents happen?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Car Accidents

When wrong-way accidents happen on small city streets, it’s often just because of confusion. Maybe a young driver doesn’t realize that they are turning down a one-way street because they don’t have much experience and most of the roads they use handle two-way traffic. Or maybe a road used to be a two-way street and was later changed into a one-way, and outdated GPS software told the driver where to turn.

But when these wrong-way accidents happen on the interstate, it’s a bit more perplexing. A GPS mistake should never lead someone onto the wrong side of the interstate, nor should inexperience. After all, a driver has to use the on-ramp to join the highway, and there should be plenty of signs telling them which ramp to use and which direction to travel. 

But it’s inevitable that some drivers will make mistakes, drive in the wrong direction, and then cause very severe accidents at high speeds. Why does this happen?

Most of them are impaired

As a general rule, the drivers who do this are usually impaired. They may have been using illegal drugs, prescription medications, alcohol or something else entirely. But their cognitive function is impaired and that’s why they make the mistake and drive the wrong way on the interstate.

This is also why these drivers do not immediately realize their mistake when they see wrong-way signs or traffic coming toward them. A sober driver would know that they made an error immediately, but an impaired driver may simply keep driving until they cause an accident.

Because these accidents happen at such high speeds, they often lead to serious injuries and fatalities, so it’s important for those involved to understand how to seek financial compensation.