Wrong-way driving is the act of driving a motor vehicle against the direction of traffic. It can happen on one-or two-way roads. And it happens more often than you would think. It may be due to driver inattention or impairment. And when it happens on a freeway or a highway where speeds can top out at 55 to 70 MPH, the results are devastating.
In the United States about 350 people are killed each year in accidents caused by drivers heading in the wrong direction. NBC Nightly News did a report on wrong-way driving on Thursday, April 2, 2015. It’s even more tragic when it involves a bus full of children!
On Monday of this week, a SUV was headed in the wrong direction on a highway in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There was a school bus traveling in the outside lane. The school bus driver saw the SUV headed toward them in the same lane and stopped the bus to decrease the impact. The SUV slammed into the bus and then ricocheted across the center median. The school bus’s dash-cam caught the entire crash on camera, along with the screams of 36 – 7th graders. Five children were hospitalized with minor injuries and 11 were treated at the scene. The SUV driver is in serious condition in the hospital. The police commended the school bus driver for “doing what she could” by noticing the SUV in the distance and stopping the bus.
According to the NBC news report, several states are trying to decrease the number of accidents by installing bigger “Wrong Way” signs and installing red blinking lights around the perimeter of the signs. Anything we can do to deter wrong-way driving can be a life saving operation.