Wrong-way or counterflow driving happens when an individual drives against the regular traffic flow. This can occur on parking lots, garages, one-way or two-way roads, and most dangerously on interstates.
In most cases, wrong-way driving happens due to missed traffic signs or markings, unfamiliarity with the road, or impairment. In rarer cases, it may occur when the driver is on a thrill-finding mission, suicide attempt, or seeking a shortcut.
While wrong-way accidents in Myrtle Beach are uncommon, they are at-risk of being more fatal than other road accidents. We’ll take a closer look at wrong-way accident causes, injuries and rights to compensation in Myrtle Beach.
Causes of Wrong-Way Driving in Myrtle Beach
Wrong-way driving crashes are usually due to driver error. Such mistakes occur due to various reasons, but the leading causes of wrong-way driving include:
Driving under the influence
Intoxicated driving due to drugs or alcohol is among the most common causes of wrong-way accidents. Intoxication causes poor judgment and vision impairment and affects reaction time and other essential driving skills needed to avoid entering a road on the wrong side.
Driving when feeling drowsy or exhausted is unsafe. Drowsy drivers may miss vital road markings or veer across the center lane. You should stay fresh and alert behind the wheel so you can react when facing potential wrong-way collisions.
There are various reasons a driver can be distracted while behind the wheel, including texting, talking on the phone, eating, or changing stations on the radio. Distracted drivers can easily take a wrong turn without noticing and only snap back to reality when they are on a collision course with an oncoming vehicle.
It is usually hard for drivers to see the road when it’s raining or there’s heavy fog. Road signs and markings may be obscured when driving in these conditions. You should drive slowly and more cautiously.
Obstructed road signs
Sometimes, wrong-way driving happens if the road signs are missing, covered-up or vandalized. For example, if a road sign is not replaced after being knocked down, or weed overgrowth hides the road signs, it becomes harder for drivers to know when they’re going the wrong way. The government agency responsible for road maintenance could be held liable if they didn’t address these conditions in a timely manner and a wrong-way crash occurs.
Poorly-lit roads constitute a significant cause of wrong-way crashes especially at night. We rely on street lights and headlights to illuminate road signs and markers but when neither are in use, they can contribute to a head-on collision that’s usually avoidable. Drivers found negligent may not use headlights at night, and the agency in charge of road maintenance may be found at-fault for having adequate working street lamps.
Possible Damages Against Wrong-Way Drivers in Myrtle Beach
When a wrong-way driver causes a car accident, this driver may be liable for all damages caused. In addition, an injured victim can sue for injuries to recover the cost of their medical care, lost employment opportunities and worsened quality of life.
Personal injury claims
Personal injury claims can be brought by an individual or group that was injured in an accident with a wrong-way driver. The injured party can be entitled to compensation for the injury and related expenses, including medical bills and lost wages.
Property damage claims
Property owners who have had their possessions damaged from a wrong-way driver may also claim compensation. These types of claims can also be brought by businesses whose property was destroyed in crashes caused by wrong-way drivers, such as hotels and restaurants. Owners of vehicles parked on public streets can also file a claim against wrong-way drivers.
Wrongful death claims
When a wrong-way driver contributes to a collision where someone dies, the driver can be held responsible for their negligence and recklessness. Wrong-way drivers can also be pursued for compensation after accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists who are killed.
Certain damages such as pain and suffering for developing PTSD are potential compensation you can recover from a wrong-way accident.
Your insurance policy may pay out your medical bills for your wrong-way crash injuries, but when the costs exceed coverage, a wrong-way driver can be sued.
What To Do If You See a Wrong-Way Driver in Myrtle Beach
If you’re driving and see a wrong-way driver, slow down and move away as far as possible from the vehicle. Do not follow the wrong-way driver even if they nearly collide with you. If possible, turn on your hazard lights and call 911 so to report the vehicle to the police to help prevent an accident.
You can avoid being hit by someone driving against traffic on an interstate highway by being vigilant about watching your visual horizon. While driving at night, use your vehicle’s headlights to illuminate the road and any oncoming cars without their lights on.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers If You’re in a Wrong-Way Crash
Wrong-way accidents are one of the most devastating types of crashes. These accidents can leave victims with serious injuries that result in ongoing medical care and lost wages. In addition, the driver may not be insured or have adequate insurance coverage.
Wrong-Way Accident FAQs
How do wrong-way accidents happen?
Some wrong-way drivers may have suffered a medical emergency while driving, while others may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. One driver may simply forget which direction they are going after exiting an off-ramp.
What is the most common type of wrong-way accident?
Head-on collisions are the most common type of wrong-way accident. They often occur on a divided highway or freeway, but also at intersections and on one-way streets.