How do wrong-way highway accidents happen?

Imagine you are driving on Interstate 40 one night when suddenly you see the headlights of another vehicle coming straight for you. Perhaps nothing is scarier than a driver going the wrong way on the interstate, because the odds are good that he or she will cause a deadly car accident.

Though the following tragedy did not happen in Arkansas, it is a sad example of what can happen when a motorist ends up on the wrong side of I-40 or another Arkansas highway.

Deadly wrong-way collision

The Arizona Republic reports a wrong-way driver killed another motorist and himself in a violent collision on June 6. The investigation has just begun, but officials there believe one of the drivers was heading west in the eastbound side of Interstate 10, then entered a southbound ramp leading to another highway, but going north.

Around 7:45 pm, the wrong-way driver crashed into another car, forcing a third car to crash into the first two. The first two drivers were killed and the third sustained minor injuries.

What causes wrong-way highway accidents?

Obviously, we don't know what caused this person to go the wrong way on the highway. Common factors include drug or alcohol impairment, which can cause a driver to become disoriented and enter the highway through an exit ramp. Driving while distracted by a cellphone or other device can also lead to this sort of terrible, preventable tragedy.

Such incidents often happen at night. During the day, exit ramps are full of traffic and well-lit. Wrong-way highway accidents are particularly dangerous, because both vehicles are often going 55 mph or faster. The force of impact is generally much higher than, say, a rear-end collision at a red light.

The awful consequences

While mistakes sometimes happen, there is no excuse for driving carelessly and without regard for others on the road. As a victim, you could face a lifetime of disability and pain because of someone else's negligence. Even worse, you may have lost a loved one.

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