On the night of November 3 in Long Beach, a driver entered the 710 Freeway traveling in the wrong direction and began driving into oncoming traffic. What happened next is all too common in California wrong-way car accidents: the car, which was driving northbound in the southbound lanes, slammed into an oncoming car head-on, seriously injuring at least three people.
Unfortunately, wrong-way interstate accidents and highway accidents are more common than you may think. How does a driver possibly get onto an interstate or freeway going the wrong way, and why don’t they quickly realize their mistake?
In most cases, wrong-way accidents have the following five causes:
- Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The vast majority of wrong-way accidents are caused by drivers who are too inebriated to follow the rules of the road. Confused and often blacked out, they ignore or misinterpret signs.
- Elderly drivers or drivers suffering from mental illnesses. Elderly drivers who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease—or drivers with other mental health issues—may have enough driving skills to operate a vehicle, but not the cognitive function to understand or obey signs.
- Drivers suffering from a medical emergency. There have been several documented cases of patients with untreated diabetes or traumatic brain injuries traveling on the wrong side of the road due to a medical issue which causes confusion.
- Suicidal drivers. In these sad cases, a person will decide to end his or her life by causing a head-on accident in a wrong-way accident.
- Drivers who are confused by poor road design. In some cases, a missing sign, a poorly designed exchange, or a lack of safety features could cause a driver to get on the wrong ramp. In these instances, it is possible that the Department of Transportation, toll authority, or other government entity is responsible for the crash.
Because so many wrong-way accidents involve high-speed, head-on collision, they result in a high number of catastrophic injuries and deaths. If you or a loved one has been involved in a wrong way accident, you may want the assistance of a California car accident attorney.
At Russell & Lazarus, we can help you understand how your traffic accident occurred and who is responsible for damages. Call today to schedule a free, private meeting with one of our experienced lawyers: (949) 851-0222.