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Wrong-way highway accidents the deadliest type of crash

Wrong-way highway accidents are rare, but they are perhaps the most dangerous form of auto crash. In a 2012 report, the National Transportation Safety Board notes that wrong-way collisions make up about 3 percent of accidents on high-speed divided highways. However, they are by far the type of highway crash most likely to cause serious injury and death.

For instance, the report says, the California Department of Transportation found that wrong-way accidents caused 12 times the number of deaths compared with all other accidents on highways with controlled access. Wrong-way accidents were severely dangerous throughout the country. A Michigan study revealed that 0.3 percent of all highway accidents resulted in fatality, but 22 percent of wrong-way crashes during the same study period caused a death.

It should come as no surprise that this type of collision would be so deadly. Two vehicles crashing into each other head-on at highway speeds are going to be subject to terrible violence. The driver going the right way would have no time to avoid the crash or prepare for impact.

People who have never entered the highway through an exit ramp may wonder how someone could ever make such a dangerous mistake. Alcohol is a common cause, as it was in a tragic 2013 accident in Florida that killed two women.

The other driver in the crash had drunk two large margaritas at a restaurant, despite being under 21, and attempting to drive, though she did not have a license. Before the wreck, she bragged on Twitter that she was “2 drunk 2 care” about the consequences of her actions. She was recently sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “’2 drunk 2 care’ driver sentenced to 24 years,” Lisa J. Huriash, May 5, 2015

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