Is There Anything I Can Do to Avoid a Wrong-Way Accident?

March 23, 2016

Hillsborough County suffered a tragic loss on March 12 when a 30-year-old sheriff’s deputy was unable to avoid a wrong-way accident and died after a driver headed in the wrong direction on the Selmon Expressway hit his police car head-on. According to WOFL-TV, the fatal accident, which also claimed the life of the wrong-way driver, happened around 3 a.m.

Prior to the crash, the sheriff’s deputy, who was a six-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, had just left a hospital after completing a traffic accident investigation. Reportedly, investigators suspect that the wrong-way driver entered the highway westbound at a portion of the Selmon Expressway that was composed of reversible lanes and only open to eastbound traffic. Evidence gathered during the investigation appears to show that the sheriff’s deputy swerved in attempt to prevent the crash but was unable to avoid being struck by the wrong-way driver.

Tips to Avoid a Wrong-Way Accident

Avoiding wrong-way car accidents can be extremely difficult. This is because wrong-way accidents often occur in low visibility on high-speed roadways, giving the drivers little time to react. In addition, in some cases, the drivers mistakenly continue on a collision course with each other, because the drivers inadvertently mirror every move the other makes to avoid the crash. However, as difficult as it can be to avoid a wrong-way accident, there are tactics that drivers can use to do it, including:

  • Look ahead – Do not just keep your eyes on the road ahead a few feet in front of your car, but also scan the road and traffic further ahead for impending dangers. If there are cars ahead of you on the road, notice what they are doing, keep an eye on their brake lights and notice if they make unexpected movements, such as swerving.
  • Move to the right side of the road – In many cases, wrong-way drivers are drunk or impaired due to illegal, over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Therefore, when they enter the roadway heading the wrong direction, they often get in the right lane (from their perspective), which they believe is the slow lane, because they want to avoid getting pulled over. As a result, if you are faced with a wrong-way driver, your first move (if the wrong-way driver did get in the lane to their right) should be to swerve quickly into the actual right lane/slow lane.
  • Use your turn signals, high beams and horn – Honk your horn and flash your high-beam headlights to alert the wrong-way driver to your presence and use your turn signal to indicate clearly which direction you intend to steer your car.
  • Get off the road – If possible, pull your car off the roadway entirely to avoid a wrong-way accident.
  • Call 911 – Once you have avoided a wrong-way driver, call the police immediately and report the incident. This will ensure that authorities have been informed of the situation and have a better chance of stopping the wrong-way driver before he or she causes an accident.

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