Two people died and two were injured when a car going the wrong way on I-40 in Raleigh, North Carolina slammed head on into a pickup truck late in the evening of Jan. 18.
The deadly wrong way car accident happened a few minutes before local police could locate the wrong way vehicle; several people had called 911 to report the danger just before the accident.
Police stated that a Honda Civic with four people inside was going the wrong way on the highway near Wade Avenue in Raleigh. One person died at the crash scene, and another person died at the hospital. Two others in the car were in stable condition at the hospital.
The driver and passenger in the pickup truck also had non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that 350 people die in the US each year because of a wrong way driver. This may not sound like a lot, but there is a lot of money and resources spent on signs and other safety measures across the country to prevent people from driving the wrong way on highways. Why are these accidents still occurring?
The NTSB finds that drivers over 70 are commonly involved in wrong way crashes. It is unclear why older drivers are at elevated risk for wrong way crashes. But some experts think older people may have a harder time seeing signs on the highway.
Also, many wrong way accidents are caused by a vehicle entering an exit ramp. This could be due to unclear signs, or the driver may not be familiar with the city.
Wrong way collisions happen the most at night. The combination of fatigued drivers, drunk drivers and poor visibility because of darkness can make for a deadly recipe. The NTSB has found that nearly 80% of all wrong way accidents happen between 6 PM and 6 AM. Also, most wrong way crashes happen on the weekend; this is probably because more people drink and drive on the weekends.
The majority of wrong way drivers are drunk. As you can imagine, this is the most common reason for these deadly head on crashes. The NTSB found that more than 50% and up to 75% of wrong way accidents were due to a drunk driver.
Our Virginia personal injury attorneys specializing in car accident lawsuits implore all drivers to never drink and drive and to be certain they are driving on the right side of the highway. These accidents are relatively uncommon, but the accidents are often fatal.