Wrong-way crashes, while less common overall, can be especially deadly. Statistics from the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimate that prior to 2018, wrong-way collisions resulted in 34 fatalities per year in Florida. More recently, authorities in the state estimated that out of 3,850 wrong-way crashes, nearly 30 percent resulted in fatalities, according to Local 10. Thankfully, they’re taking measures to prevent and mitigate these accidents on Florida highways.
What Are the New Wrong-Way Crash Prevention Plans?
Construction is already underway to modify off-ramps in Florida. Through a few small changes, they can make it more obvious to drivers that they are entering the wrong side of the highway. For example, they are hoping to implement:
- Resurfaced exit ramps
- Dual Wrong-Way Posted Signs on either side of the entrance
- Flashing LED lights mounted on the wrong-way signs
- An alert system for other drivers that there is a wrong-way driver ahead, probably in the form of dynamic message boards
- Faster response from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) because of improved radar and camera systems
- Improving pavement markings
With these changes, response times would be quicker and more efficient, and drivers could be on alert for incoming danger. Plus, per Local 10, authorities estimate that as many as 80 percent of drivers who enter wrong-way ramps would turn around at the first alert. Making warnings more visible should do the bulk of the work in preventing wrong-way accidents.
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Protect Yourself from Wrong-Way Highway Collisions
Much of the danger of wrong-way crashes comes from the randomness and unpredictability of these kinds of collisions. No one reasonably expects another driver to come straight at them on the highway. That being said, being on guard can help you take fast, appropriate action to protect yourself.
One of the easiest tactics to stay safe from wrong-way collisions is to keep to the right when driving at night. Most wrong-way highway collisions happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). As most drivers who are moving the wrong way on the highway stick to the left lanes, you can avoid collisions by staying to the right. This will also allow a faster exit.
As always, stay alert. Keep your headlights on, eyes high and trained on the horizon, and avoid distractions. You’ll need every second of reaction time you can get if faced with a wrong-way driver.
Risk Factors for Wrong-Way Collisions
Other than inadequate signage or confusing roads, there are other preventable factors that lead to wrong-way accidents. Per the NTSB and AAA, here are some common risk factors:
- Alcohol and drug-impaired driving
- Driving alone
- Elderly drivers with visual limitations
Unfortunately, elderly drivers are much more frequently the cause of wrong-way accidents. Drivers without a passenger are also much less likely to notice they’re driving the wrong way. If you struggle to see at night, keep a passenger with you, or opt for ridesharing or public transportation services to protect others on the road.
Wrong-Way Crashes Result in Catastrophic Injuries and Wrongful Death
The percentage of wrong-way crashes that result in fatalities is much higher than in typical collisions. According to NBC 6, highway authorities estimate that percentage to be as high as 30 percent. Survivors of such serious accidents will likely suffer the effects long into the future.
Victims of Wrong-Way Accidents Deserve a Legal Advocate
Severe injuries are expensive to treat. Yet, you shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill if someone else caused your collision. An attorney could help you recover the cost of your medical bills and other financial and personal losses.
For example, you could be eligible to claim:
- The cost to repair or replace your vehicle
- The cost of long-term medical treatment and rehabilitation
- The loss of your current and future wages
- Loss of enjoyment in life, including loss of independence and mobility
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
In Florida, it can be difficult to interpret your legal options after a car accident. A car accident attorney could help you decipher your insurance coverage, your policy limits, and your eligibility for a lawsuit. Then, they could collect the evidence they need to demonstrate that the wrong-way driver is liable for your losses.
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Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers Can Represent You After a Wrong-Way Collision
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a collision, you deserve dedicated lawyers. Our founding attorneys, Jason and Debi Chalik, founded their firm with the intention of providing just that. We strive to give individualized attention to each client we take on. As our client, you’ll be able to focus on your physical recovery; we can handle everything else.
Allow us to put our knowledge, resources, and experience to work for you. Call us or visit us online for your free consultation.
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