When you drive on a Wisconsin road, you know that you need to be careful of other nearby drivers. What you may not be ready for is a vehicle driving the wrong way. It happens more often than you may think. A driver gets onto a highway in the wrong lane and continues to drive, thinking he or she is going in the correct direction. Unfortunately, wrong-way drivers often end up in serious or fatal accidents and cause injuries and deaths to innocent drivers. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) continues to address the issue of wrong-way drivers on our roads.
What Causes Wrong-Way Driving?
Confusion, impairment, poor weather conditions and fatigue are some of the most common reasons that drivers end up going the wrong way on a road. Not surprisingly, most wrong-way incidents happen during the overnight hours. When there are few other vehicles on the road, a driver has to rely more readily on traffic signs. He or she cannot simply follow along with traffic. Drivers often get onto highways going the wrong direction. Roundabouts seem to help with the problem; however, many ramps do not have them. Drivers who go the wrong way are likely not paying close attention to the road and signage or they are intoxicated.
Consequences of Driving the Wrong Way
Once a driver gets onto a road in the wrong direction, he or she may be unaware of the mistake until it is too late. When the driver encounters another vehicle, the result could be a head-on collision at a high rate of speed. It can be difficult or impossible to avoid an accident when you see someone coming directly at you very quickly. There is little time to react and the result is a high number of fatal wrong-way accidents. When someone reports a wrong-way driver, it can be hard to get them to turn around. The driver is not aware of the problem and therefore is not paying attention to others who try to get their attention. Even law enforcement can have a difficult time trying to catch and stop a wrong-way driver.
Preventing Wrong-Way Driving
The best way to avoid these types of accidents is through prevention. Better signage may be helpful in preventing people from getting on a road in the wrong direction. Wisconsin has installed a number of wrong-way driving detection devices in areas in which there is a high incidence of wrong-way driving. These devices send an alert to the police so they can take preemptive action. The alert goes to a station that is manned 24/7. In addition to alerting police, the operator will use the overhead message boards to post an electronic alert for other drivers. While this can be effective, there are many areas in which there are no overhead signs. WisDOT can also activate the signs after another driver contacts the police to report a wrong-way driver.
If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in an accident with a wrong-way driver you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to discuss the accident in a consultation.