Laredo wrong-way crashes often cause devastating injuries or fatalities. KGNS reported one accident in which a man was sent to a hospital after a car traveling the wrong way on I-35 in Laredo slammed into his vehicle. He had to be airlifted to the hospital with numerous broken bones and other serious injuries when the accident occurred near Mile Marker 27.
The reason for this particular car accident was not yet known at the time of the article, but there are several common causes of Laredo wrong-way crashes motorists must be aware of. Because many of the risk factors are exacerbated over Thanksgiving and other holidays, learning top causes of wrong-way crashes now could help to save your life this festive season.
Causes of Wrong-Way Crashes
The National Transportation Safety Board evaluated wrong-way crash causes to identify causes. NTSB found causes to include:
- Night driving. Most wrong way crashes happen at night, with 78 percent occurring between the hours of 6:00 in the evening and 6:00 AM. Visibility issues and higher levels of intoxication in evening hours could result in more wrong-way crashes at these times of day.
- Age-related impairments. Senior drivers tend to suffer cognitive decline at some point in their lives, which makes operating vehicles safely more difficult. After age 70, drivers have 2.5 times the risk of wrong-way accidents compared with motorists a decade younger. After age 80, drivers have 30 times the risk of going the wrong direction.
- Alcohol use: In 60 percent of all wrong-way crashes, the driver going in the opposite direction of traffic has a BAC exceeding permissible legal limits. When considering only drivers aged 20 to 39, 65 percent of drivers who travel in the wrong direction are legally drunk.
Safety Transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration also identified other causes of wrong-way crashes to include construction zones putting traffic into closer proximity (a cause of almost two percent of wrong-way crashes) and to include cloverleaf-designed on and off ramps. A cloverleaf design means on and off ramps are parallel to each other and directly adjacent, which necessitates a driver who is turning left to pass by the wrong lane before turning into the correct one.
Wrong way crashes are anywhere from 12 to 27 times as likely to be deadly as other crash types, depending on which studies are consulted, so drivers need to be aware of safety risks and do everything possible to help prevent accidents. This Thanksgiving and beyond, be certain to take steps to prevent wrong-way accidents by staying sober and by talking to your senior relatives about whether they are still able to drive without endangering themselves or others on roadways.