Spokane, WA- Two wrong-way crashes, one in California and one in Florida over last weekend that grabbed national attention. The two separate accidents both occurring in the early morning hours of Sunday took the lives of 11 innocent people.
A wrong-way crash occurs when a one vehicle enters a lane and begins to travel against the flow of traffic. Because these kinds of crashes often occur on highways, drivers are traveling at high rates of speed and rarely have the time to take evasive actions. Even with air bags and safety belts it can be difficult to avoid catastrophic or fatal injuries because of the sheer force of these types of accidents.
Different studies show that wrong-way crashes have a higher fatality rate than other traffic accidents. A study from Michigan showed that wrong-way crashes on closed access freeways were 22 percent more likely to be fatal. A similar study in Virginia showed wrong-way crashes were 27 percent more likely to cause fatal injuries.
The fact that were two major, high-profile wrong-way accidents this week would could  give people the impression that these types of traffic accidents are common. But in reality they are rare accounting for only 3 percent of overall traffic accidents on the nation’s highways. When these accidents do occur they happen to be one of the most deadly and injurious accidents a person can be involved in.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that half of all fatal accidents in the U.S. are caused by head-on impact. An average of 350 people are killed each year in wrong-way crashes, according to analysis from the NTSB.
As with any type of traffic accident, there are many different causes of wrong-way crashes, but the most common, according to the NTSB is intoxicated driving. The driver in deadly California crash in which six people were killed, was believed to be drinking prior to the crash. A 1989 study by the California Department of Transportation, found that impaired or drunken drivers were involved in 59.4% of all wrong-way crashes and an incredible 76.8% of fatal wrong-way crashes in the state from 1983 to 1987.
Another cause of wrong-way crashes are inattention of confusion, drivers may have not noticed they entered the roadway in the wrong direction and didn’t turn their vehicles around before crashing into another vehicle. Researchers also found the majority of these accidents occur after 10 p.m. when it is darker and wrong-way signs are not as visible as during the daylight hours.
Most drivers who find themselves traveling in the wrong direction quickly realize their error, but impaired drivers often don’t realize they are driving the wrong-way until it is too late and they collide with another vehicle.
If you have been injured in a wrong-way crash or one of your loved ones have been killed, you may be entitled compensation. Wrong-way crash victims should contact a Spokane accident attorney to discuss the details of their case and see if they should proceed with a personal injury or wrongful death suit. Your Spokane accident attorney will take whatever steps necessary to ensure you get a fair and just settlement amount.

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