Categories: Tips

Wrong-Way Drivers: 3 Keys to Survival

It happens day and night, by drivers from a wide variety of situations.  Yes,  drunk drivers comprise the majority of wrong-way driving accidents (60% have blood alcohol content [BAC] above legal limits), but the reality is there are a variety of causes in addition to alcohol related issues. Your best defense is to take 60 seconds right now to consider the possibility it may happen to you…and visualize implementing a few simple suggestions (following shortly)…and maneuvering through the incident to survival.

And surviving a wrong-way accident is no small feat.  A National Transportation Safety Board’s  (NTSB) special report on wrong-way drivers stated that they cause a significantly higher injury and death rate, despite only accounting for only 3% of all crashes.  360 deaths occur every year as a result of wrong-way accidents.

While the NTSB has offered recommendations for marking freeway on and off ramps more clearly…and erecting barriers that create less confusion for drivers…the brutal truth is that wrong-way drivers are hard to prevent.

If you find yourself in the frightening freeway scenario of seeing headlights heading in the wrong direction…toward you…burn these few simple suggestions into your brain now….to help protect yourself and loved ones.

  1. Buckle Up – Always rule #1…before you even back out of the driveway.  Seat belts simply increase greatly your chance for surviving any type of crash.  AAA tells us that seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives last year.
  2. Slow Down – …IMMEDIATELY!  It can only add precious moments to your decision making.
  3. Scan Ahead – Keeping an eye on the horizon…or at least far ahead of your own headlights…increases your chances of seeing the wrong-way driver in advance.
  4. Swerve To The Right – Wrong-way drivers often gravitate to their far right because they think it’s the slow lane, rather than the fast lane.  Swerving to your right is always recommended in a head-on collision situation because it will deflect much of the force of the impact.  Hitting a stationary object or rolling into a ditch instead of a moving vehicle (especially if you’ve slowed down) is much safer than a head on collision…so even if swerving seems equally dangerous, do it anyway.

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