While California wrong-way accidents are not the most frequently occurring type of collision, they often result in the most severe injuries. Further, reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and AAA reveal that wrong-way driving accidents are climbing throughout the United States. Wrong-way accidents involve vehicles traveling in the wrong direction on a roadway. These accidents are often fatal because they typically involve a head-on collision. The severity of an accident largely depends on the crash dynamics, such as the speed of the vehicles, location of the accident, and contributing factors.
For example, recent news reports described a tragic California wrong-way accident. Two people suffered fatal injuries in a head-on collision involving a driver on the wrong side of the freeway. Several witnesses reported the wrong-way driver shortly before the 5:00 a.m. accident. The callers told 911 that the driver was driving at around 90 miles per hour in the wrong direction. Highway Patrol responded to the reports and discovered a head-on collision. Another vehicle suffered damage a short distance from the initial crash. The victims were 30 and 21 years old.
In reviewing the rate and circumstances surrounding these accidents, researchers concluded that these incidents typically involve eight similar factors. The leading causes of wrong-way car accidents are DUI, driver distraction, drugged driving, poor visibility, missing traffic signs, driver fatigue, construction zone confusion, and product defect. However, the researchers concluded that three factors stand out as most likely to result in a wrong-way accident. The researchers found that the likelihood of a wrong-way accident increased when a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was older and driving without a passenger.