Wrong way crashes have become an increasing problem in the Tampa Bay area. Wrong-way drivers have caused fatal accidents on I-4, I-75, I-275, and on the Selmon Expressway. While wrong-way accidents are typically rare, they contributed to over 100 fatalities in Florida last year.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), alcohol or drug impairment is the common denominator in 99 percent of wrong-way crashes. Many wrong-way accidents are head-on and the majority of head-on crashes result in fatalities. The Florida Department of Transportation has recorded over 100 Bay Area wrong way driver arrests since 2014 and alcohol was found to be a factor in every case.
When a wrong-way driver approaches, you have a very short time to react. The Florida Highway Patrol has a list of things to do to help protect yourself if you see a wrong-way driver:
- If you see one of the highway signs reporting that a wrong-way driver is on the road, slow down and if possible exit the interstate.
- Stay to the right at night. Many wrong-way drivers think they are on a two-way road, so they may be traveling in the left lane, staying to the right may help you stay out of the driver’s way.
- Stay alert and put away distractions. Focus on the road and keep your eyes open for potential oncoming headlights.
- According to the FHP, if a wrong-way driver is heading towards you, the most important thing you can do is swerve out of the way to avoid a head-on collision. Even if your car is hit, if it is hit at an angle it could deflect the force and cause less damage.
- If you notice a wrong-way driver the Tampa Bay or the surrounding area, the FHP asks that you call *FHP (*347) to alert them of the location of the impaired driver.
The Florida Department of Transportation has implemented beacons on many highways to notify drivers and authorities when a wrong-way driver drives up an exit ramp. The beacons will flash to try to catch the driver’s attention and will notify traffic management to change message boards to warn other drivers as well as taking a photo of the car to record the make and model of the vehicle.
Drunk driving crashes can cause debilitating and permanent injuries. If you have been injured in an accident by a wrong-way driver, you deserve compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other expenses due to a crash caused by negligence. At Burnetti, P.A. our wrong-way accident lawyers fight for the injured. Call 1-888-BURNETTI or fill out a free case review today.