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4 common causes of wrong-way car accidents

When you drive on a one-way street, you expect every motorist to be going the same direction you are. Unfortunately, though, that does not always happen. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are between 300 and 400 wrong-way car accidents on U.S. roadways every year. 

If you drive at night, on weekends or near medians, you may have an increased risk of colliding with a wrong-way driver. Even worse, wrong-way crashes often result in serious injuries, as many are head-on collisions. Here are four reasons these types of collisions tend to occur.

1. Distracted driving 

Distracted driving is a terrible idea even under ideal circumstances. Nonetheless, if a motorist is on the other side of a median and not paying attention, he or she may inadvertently cross into your driving lane. 

2. Drunk driving 

In California, it is illegal for anyone with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08% to operate a motor vehicle. While alcohol impairs judgment and slows reaction times, it may also cause confusion. As such, a drunk motorist may drive into oncoming traffic. 

3. Speeding 

While speeding may lead to a costly fine and possible license suspension, it can also be incredibly dangerous. If a car is moving too quickly, its driver may be unable to maintain control. This is particularly true if a road obstacle suddenly appears. Naturally, an out-of-control vehicle may cause a wrong-way crash. 

4. Bad planning

It can be stressful to drive in unfamiliar areas. To help motorists navigate roadways, municipalities have signage and lighting. If these are not present or are inadequate, a driver may inadvertently cause a wrong-way crash. Furthermore, if highway engineers are not careful when designing interchanges, a section of road may be more prone to wrong-way accidents. 

With some luck and a bit of responsible driving, you may never have to contend with a wrong-way crash. Nonetheless, because these accidents often contribute to life-altering injuries, you should know why they usually happen and take steps to avoid them altogether.

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