A wrong-way accident recently claimed the life of a 73-year old woman from Orlando.
The accident occurred on Florida's Turnpike near the intersection with State Road 528. The woman's vehicle was traveling north in the southbound lanes early in the morning and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer. The semi driver was unable to avoid the woman's Dodge Charger and suffered serious injuries in the crash. Police are investigating why the driver of the car was traveling the wrong way on the highway.
Wrong-Way Accidents Are Exceptionally Deadly
Wrong-way accidents are excessively deadly because they almost always are head-on collisions. In fact, studies (Transportation Research Board) estimate that the fatality rate in wrong-way crashes is 12 to 27 times higher than that of other accidents!
Most wrong-way collisions occur between midnight and 3 a.m., just as this tragedy did. Alcohol consumption by the driver going the wrong way is often a factor in these accidents - twice as likely as in other fatal crashes. Most wrong-way accidents also happen on weekends, which may also point to alcohol consumption.
The primary origin of a wrong-way driver is entering a highway using an exit ramp, although some crashes occur when a driver uses the emergency turnaround through the median.
Can Wrong-Way Crashes Be Prevented?
A study of wrong-way driving on Central Florida expressways evaluated several methods to reduce these deadly crashes:
- RRFB (Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon) technology was attached to existing wrong-way signs at intersections and exit ramps.
- Additional wrong-way signs with RRFB flashers were posted on the exit ramps.
- Cameras were added to these signs as well as ramp detection equipment to pick up signals of a car traveling in the wrong direction. The car is detected and a photo will confirm that the car is going the wrong way.
- Once a wrong-way driver is detected, the system will alert police and other drivers. Highway signs will warn drivers that a wrong-way driver is on the highway and to use extreme caution.
The Florida Highway Patrol encourages drivers to "Stay Right at Night" in order to avoid possible wrong-way drivers. The majority of wrong-way accidents occur in the left lane probably because the driver traveling the wrong way believes they are in their own slow lane. Florida law specifies that the left lane of a highway should only be used to pass slower traffic.
Let Us Help if You Suffer Injuries in an Accident
If you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident or by any other type of personal injury, we can help! We will work hard for you and pursue compensation for damages including lost wages, medical bills, lost earnings capacity and pain and suffering. Please call The Francis Law Group for a free consultation. Attorney Tony Francis, personal injury attorney in Orlando, will fight to get you the compensation that you and your family deserve. You can reach us at 407-363-9939 or contact us via the website.