It might not even occur to an average driver in New York City to travel the wrong way on a street or highway, even for a very short distance.
However, wrong-way accidents are surprisingly more common than one might think, even on major highways and interstates.
According to information from the National Transportation Safety Board and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of fatalities due to wrong way accidents has been on the rise.
The AAA found that the single biggest factor in wrong-way crashes is alcohol impairment. The organization determined that about 60% of wrong-way drivers were legally drunk at the time.
However, 36% of wrong-way drivers had either no alcohol or only a trace of alcohol in their systems. On this note, the AAA found that drivers over 70, as well as those who are not driving with a passenger, were also more prone to wrong-way driving.
To prevent these accidents, driving sober is, of course, a given.
However, the AAA also encouraged people to make sure they are driving attentively and only after getting enough rest. In many cases, overly tired drivers start operating much like those who are under the influence.
Wrong-way accidents often end with fatalities and serious injuries
Wrong-way accidents frequently are head-on and at high speeds. Not surprisingly, these types of accidents too often end with someone suffering a serious injury or death.
Permanently debilitating injuries like serious traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries are too common after these sorts of accidents.
It is also a rare day when a wrong-way accident is truly unavoidable.
A driver who operates a vehicle in the wrong direction of traffic has almost always been at least careless and may have been reckless. For example, any New York driver should know by now that drunk driving is both illegal and extremely dangerous.
Wrong-way drivers should pay compensation for all the injuries that they cause. They should reimburse medical and other out-of-pocket expenses and also pay for lost income and a victim’s non-economic losses like pain and suffering.