What You Should Know About Arizona Wrong-Way Drivers
Wrong-way drivers are some of the most lethal, terrifying dangers one can face on the road. Though rare, the prospect of an impaired driver hurtling towards you is understandably scary, and knowing how to handle these situations ahead of time is essential for your continued peace of mind and safety.
How Does Wrong-Way Driving Happen?
Wrong-way driving is almost exclusively the result of driver error, inattentiveness, and impairment behind the wheel. Most wrong-way incidents happen at night when road signs and markers are harder to see and roads are emptier; more specifically, 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. is an especially risky time frame, as many bars close around that time, causing a surge in drunk and drowsy drivers.
With the prevalence of wrong-way signs on freeways and other prevention systems, the majority of these offenders are too impaired to be behind the wheel and are likely to speed and recklessly drive as well. The best way to prevent wrong-way driving is to stop impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel, whether they are exhausted, drunk, or otherwise distracted.
What To Do If You See a Wrong-Way Driver
Especially on freeways and fast-moving interstates, you’ll oftentimes only have a few seconds to react to an oncoming driver.
- Get out of the way. You should immediately slow down and pull over. If you can’t pull over, such as if you’re on a freeway, steer away to give the oncoming vehicle as wide a berth as possible. Your safety comes first.
- Report the driver. Once you’re safe, you should call 911 and report the wrong-way driver. This will allow emergency responders and police to warn other drivers and prevent the threat from escalating.
Wrong-way drivers are also frequently detected by thermal camera detection systems installed on Interstate-17 and similar large roads. Once the wrong-way driver is reported, emergency responders will set up overhead-road signs on the freeway to warn drivers of oncoming danger. If you see one of these warnings, you should calmly find an exit as soon as possible. The entire stretch of freeway will have these messages displayed, so you likely won’t be in a life or death situation immediately after seeing them.
Wrong-Way Drivers Face Severe Consequences
Driving the wrong way on controlled highways will net guilty, but unimpaired parties a $500 fine and mandatory traffic school, a relatively minor punishment for a simple mistake that some drivers can make. However, most offenders aren’t just making simple mistakes—the majority of wrong-way drivers are drunk or impaired.
Pairing a DUI with wrong-way driving has serious legal repercussions. Driving the wrong way on a highway while under the influence of alcohol is a class 4 felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine that reaches well into the thousands.
Contact an Arizona Auto Accident Attorney
Wrong-way auto accidents are far more severe than other accidents due to the speeds involved in a head-on collision and the poor reaction times of impaired drivers. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one because of the negligent actions of an Arizona driver, Escamilla Law Group can help you find peace of mind and pursue the settlement you deserve. Please, contact our knowledgable Arizona car accident lawyers at (623) 877-3600 to schedule your free consultation.