It is frightening to be driving on I-39 south, near Harrison Avenue in Rockford, and see a vehicle speeding towards you—traveling northbound in your southbound lane. This is a dangerous situation, often resulting in a fatal head-on collision.
Many wrong-way drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Others are elderly drivers or motorists who are unfamiliar with the area and confused by the highway entrance and exit ramp signs. No matter what the reason, head-on collisions at highway speeds are extremely dangerous because both vehicles stop abruptly, while the vehicle occupants continue to move forward inside their vehicles. Often, they miss the airbags completely, slamming into the interior of the vehicle and suffering fatal injuries. Other times, they are ejected from the vehicle and suffer the same fate.
Tips for Protecting Yourself From a Wrong-Way Driver
So how can you protect yourself from the negligent actions of a wrong-way driver? Following are some tips to help you stay safe:
- When driving on an undivided highway, choose the lane farthest from oncoming traffic. That way, if a drunk, fatigued, or distracted driver swerves into the wrong lane, you will have more time to react and get out of the way.
- If you see a wrong-way driver, pull off on the shoulder to give him plenty of room to pass you.
- Once you are stopped on the shoulder, flash your lights and try to alert the driver that he is traveling in the wrong direction. Then, call 911 and give the police your location and a description of the vehicle. Officers may be able to stop the vehicle before an accident occurs.
Have you encountered a wrong-way driver? Post a comment in the space below and tell us what happened.