The bad news regarding wrong-way drivers is that, unfortunately, you often have very little time to react when you see one coming your way. You may not really see them coming at all. You don’t expect someone to be coming toward you on an interstate or a one-way street, and they can close the distance between you exceptionally quickly if you’re both driving at the speed limit toward one another.
However, you may have a few seconds in which you can react, and the actions you take are critical to the outcome of the crash.
What should you do when you see a wrong-way driver headed your way?
Here is what you should do to minimize the risk of a serious wreck:
- Hit the brakes. Even if you can’t avoid the crash, reducing speed can reduce injuries.
- Move to the right, not the left. That driver will likely stay on your left since they believe that is “their” lane.
- Honk your horn and flash your lights. Do anything you can to get their attention so that they too can slow down. Many wrong-way drivers do not realize they’ve made a mistake until they cause a crash.
- Don’t be afraid to leave the roadway. Driving on the shoulder or even down into the ditch may be vastly preferable to a head-on crash.
- Get off of the road. Find a place to exit or pull over and call the police after the driver goes by. A quick response may be able to save lives.
Remember that most wrong-way drivers are impaired. They may not react how you would expect.
What if you get injured?
If you cannot avoid the wrong-way driver and you get injured in an accident, you may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills and many other costs.