While not the most common type of car accident, our San Diego auto accident attorney explains that a wrong-way driving (WWD) crash can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries. This is because vehicles frequently collide head-on—often at high speeds. The U.S. Department of Transportation indicates that WWD accidents result in 300–400 deaths each year.

A road sign displaying a wrong way messageTop Causes of Wrong-Way Car Wrecks in California

WWD car accidents frequently occur on highway entrance and exit ramps, highways, and one-way streets. The person traveling the wrong way often doesn't realize it until it's too late to avoid a crash.

Here are some common negligent driving behaviors that frequently cause these accidents:

  • Intoxication. One of the most common causes of wrong-way wrecks is intoxication due to alcohol or drug use. When a person is intoxicated, it affects his reaction time, vision, judgment, and other important driving skills necessary to avoid going the wrong way on a road, ramp, or highway. These tragic wrecks often occur at night on highway exits, entrance ramps, or highways.
  • Distracted driving. When a driver is distracted by eating or drinking, talking on his cellphone, texting, or changing the radio station, his eyes and mind aren't on the road. He could easily take a wrong turn or miss a warning sign without realizing it until he's about to smash into oncoming traffic head-on.
  • Drowsy driving. Many people drive when they're too tired to do so safely. Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. When a driver is fighting to stay away or falls asleep at the wheel, his vehicle can veer over the center line, or he can enter the highway using the exit ramp and cause a devastating wreck.
  • Weather conditions. When there's heavy fog or rain, it can make it more difficult for drivers to see road signs. However, a person can still be found negligent in a wrong-way accident if he didn't slow down enough or take other actions to ensure he wasn't going the wrong way on the street or using the exit ramp when entering a busy highway.
  • Inadequate lighting. When street lights are malfunctioning or inadequate, a driver may be unable to see an entrance or exit ramp sign onto the highway or a street sign warning of an upcoming one-way street, even if he's trying to be careful. If this is the cause of the collision, the victim may have a claim against the municipality responsible for maintaining the street lights. These claims can be more complicated due to special notice and other procedural requirements to be met when filing a claim.
  • Poor signage. Sometimes, a wrong-way car accident is caused by missing or obstructed signs. If signs aren't replaced when knocked down by drivers, or foliage isn't cut down that hides a sign, a motorist has no way of knowing that he's going the wrong way on a ramp, highway, or road. In this case, the claim would also be against a governmental agency responsible for sign maintenance. It's important to contact an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer as soon as possible if poor signage is the cause of your wreck.

Common Injuries Victims Suffer in Wrong-Way Accidents

Most unsuspecting victims don't notice the oncoming vehicle until it's too late to brake or take other actions to avoid the crash. Injuries that victims suffer include:

Get the Legal Assistance You Need 

Did a loved one or you suffer injuries in a wrong-way crash caused by another driver? Attorney Mark C. Blane is an experienced San Diego car crash attorney who can help you obtain justice and the compensation you deserve for your injuries. He represents injured car accident victims in San Diego County and Southern California.

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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney