Wrong-way accidents are some of the hardest to avoid for those driving in the proper direction. There are two main issues: Surprise and speed. This is not an accident you ever expect, so you’re not ready for it, and it happens very quickly with both cars driving toward each other. That combination means the crash occurs in a split-second — and you may not have time to react.
That said, there are a few tips that may help you if you encounter a wrong-way driver. Here’s what you should do:
- Safely move to the side of the road.
- It’s often best to go to the right, not the left, since the driver may mistakenly think that is “their” lane.
- Call 911. Tell the police you saw the driver and give them as many details are you can — the make and model of the car, the color, the speed and your location.
- Stay in the right lane as often as you can. Only use the left lane to pass.
- Remember that many of these accidents happen at night and involve impaired drivers. Be extra vigilant at night.
- If you have a chance, you may want to signal the driver with your headlights. They may not realize they’re going the wrong away.
- Do not try to stop the car yourself. Report it to the police.
All of these tips can help, but, as noted, these accidents are notoriously difficult to avoid. Make sure you are well aware of the legal rights you have to seek compensation if you suffer injuries or have other damages.