Accidents involving wrong way drivers are some of the worst kinds of accidents that occur. This is because these accidents usually occur head-on and at high speeds. Although they make up a small percentage of overall accidents, they often result in the most serious injuries and fatalities. Although a few wrong way accidents are caused by confusion, such as a driver getting on an off ramp because they’re unfamiliar with an area, the greater percentage of these are caused by intoxicated drivers.
According to a Mercury News report, wrong way collisions caused by intoxicated drivers are on the rise in California. Wrong way driver Emilie Ross hit a taxi head on Thursday, killing four people. This tragic accident is a part of a concerning trend according to the California Highway Patrol.
So far in 2019, the California Highway Patrol has seen 25 wrong-way collisions across the Bay Area’s nine counties. 18 of these collisions involved a DUI driver. Further, 10 of the crashes were fatal, resulting in 19 deaths.
DUI arrests are up 20 percent this year. CHP officers have arrested 7,779 people on suspicion of DUI so far in 2019. At this point last year, there were 6,482.
CHP has partnered with CalTrans to explore more ways to alert drivers that they are going the wrong way. There are currently signs and reflectors that flash red to alert drivers headed in the wrong direction.
However, the CHP says that one of the best methods of prevention are community watchdogs. Just minutes before officers came to the crash site, several 911 calls had been made about a driver going the wrong way.
If anyone sees a driver going the wrong way, they should drive defensively to get out of the way. Then, they should pull over and call 911 to report the driver.