More and more deadly crashes are happening on our highways, especially freeways, as the result of wrong-way collisions. On the Dallas North Tollway, (a 33-mile expressway), there have been five wrong way crashes this year, some of them deadly. In Fort Worth, there were two wrong-way crashes in two days. These stories and more are repeated in every state.
There are many pieces of the puzzle that need to be shaped differently in order for them to fit.
It seems the main cause of these accidents is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many of the accidents that result in death happen in the early morning hours, after bars close. Other reasons are people that are unfamiliar with the highways and become lost. Theories are that some distraught drivers were on a suicide mission and in their moment of desire to end it all, may have taken the lives of innocent persons as well. Other drivers have made U-turns in the road, only to deliberately invite disaster.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has many options to try at various locations, some of which include:
- Modify lighting
- Install high-intensity reflective sheeting
- Add more signs
- Paint more wrong way pavement arrows
- Put up larger “DO NOT ENTER” signs
- Mount larger and highly reflective signs that would help
elderly or confused drivers
Installing red pavement lights that are activated by wrong way drivers is one idea. There are other suggestions being considered to give drivers a second chance to realize that they are going the wrong way before entering the freeway. Certain automakers are working to develop information technology through GPS systems that will warn drivers of the location and direction of a vehicle that is in their path.
Highway officials are asking M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to get involved in their efforts for more sobriety checkpoints. M.A.D.D. also suggests ignition interlocks be placed on cars of convicted D.U.I. drivers. Most states have laws that prohibit restaurants and bars from serving too many drinks, but many times this has not worked. How many times have accidents been caused by someone who has been convicted of several D.U.I. violations?
Driving an automobile is a huge responsibility; one that requires constant attention at all times. If you are planning to drive in an area that is unfamiliar to you, (especially heavy traffic), check maps and get other information so you will be prepared. It even pays to stop and ask someone, rather than drive for miles and possibly take the wrong turn. If you spot someone that is approaching a one-way lane going the wrong way, get involved! Get their attention, and call 9-1-1. Here’s our advice: PAY ATTENTION and DRIVE SAFELY!