Wrong-Way Drivers a Common Sight on Highways and Interstates in TN
When drivers enter roadways heading in the wrong direction, they put themselves and other motorists at a high risk of serious accidents and injuries. A recent study by AAA shows that wrong-way drivers in Tennessee may be more common than previously believed, with one in three Tennesseans reporting that they’ve seen wrong-way drivers between three or four times in the past year.
According to a report by WKRN.com and WATE, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that more than three percent of the nation’s fatal wrong-way accidents occurred in Tennessee over a seven-year time period, putting the state in the top 10 for those types of fatal crashes.
That statistic caused the Tennessee Department of Transportation to invest $100,000 in signage and reflective arrows to help make drivers aware of one-way on-ramps and exit-ramps near highways and interstates.
The report goes on to say that of the 12 total fatal wrong-way accidents that have occurred in East Tennessee since 2012, nearly half of them occurred on Interstate 40.
Six people were seriously injured in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 40 in Nashville in July.
Important Facts to Know about Wrong-Way Accidents
Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of accidents that drivers and their passengers can face, and wrong-way accidents are among the most likely to result in those types of collisions.
Reducing your risk of being involved in a wrong-way accident requires a two-pronged approach. In addition to making sure you never enter a roadway heading in the wrong direction, you should also be prepared to act quickly in the event that you encounter another vehicle that’s traveling the wrong way.
Some important facts and prevention tips about wrong-way accidents include:
- Most wrong-way accidents are caused by intoxicated drivers.
The National Transportation Safety Board found that 60 percent of drivers who cause fatal wrong-way crashes were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accidents. Because alcohol impairs judgment, increases reaction times, and blurs vision, drivers may not even realize they are traveling in the wrong direction until it’s too late.
- Having an “escape route” can help you avoid wrong-way collisions.
The owner of Brentwood Driving Academy told reporters this summer that drivers can reduce their risks of being struck by wrong-way drivers if they have escape routes in mind. That means paying close attention to the roadway and knowing what lane you’re in and where the shoulder of the road is at all times. Having those things in mind can help you shift lanes or exit the roadway if a vehicle is headed in your direction.
- Signage can help reduce your risks of causing a wrong-way accident.
In 2013, the state of Tennessee completed a project that installed new signage to cloverleaf interchanges warning drivers of one-way on-ramps and exits. That signage was designed to help reduce the risks and number of wrong-way accidents in the state. Keeping an eye out for this signage before entering or exiting a highway or interstate can go a long way towards making sure you never travel in the wrong direction.
The Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law know how dangerous wrong-way drivers can be, as they’re often a primary cause of a deadly head-on collisions. In addition, we also know that many wrong-way accidents occur late at night and on high-speed interstates and highways, which creates an even greater risk for drivers and passengers. In addition to making sure you never enter a roadway in the wrong direction, you can protect yourself and others by always wearing your seat belt, keeping your headlights on at all times, and reporting wrong-way drivers to police.
Despite the best efforts of safe drivers, wrong-way accidents still happen too frequently in Tennessee. If you or someone you know was hurt in a wrong-way collision, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how our legal team can assist you during this difficult time, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form. It’s our goal to help you get the money you need for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.