During the winter months, motorists in Montana have various concerns regarding risks and conditions that could lead to an automobile collision. While snow and ice on the roadways are common concerns during this time of year, there is always the concern for negligent and reckless drivers. And when a driver is intoxicated, distracted, speeding or negligent, he or she could easily travel to the opposite side of the road, causing a wrong-way crash.

Because a wrong-way driver could lead to one of the most serious types of car accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board implemented a special investigation to develop a report on these types of collisions in order to identify relevant safety recommendations to reduce and prevent wrong-way collisions.

For this report, much focus was placed on the driver and what issues cause a driver to travel the wrong-way on a road. According to the executive summary of this report, alcohol consumption, older drivers, highway design, traffic control devices and the design and views of exit and entrance ramps were just some of the major issues found to contribute to wrong-way driving and wrong-way crashes.

The application of countermeasures has been assessed in this report, and some success has been achieved. This includes using campaigns to eliminate drunk driving. While this does not remove all drunk drivers from the roads, using ignition interlock devices have helped prevent repeat offenders from driving drunk.

Other countermeasures include making improvements and changes to the roads, signs and pavement markings. Using more warning signs at exit ramps and making them larger and more obvious could help to reduce wrong-way drivers entering the highway at an exit ramp. And while these changes could help reduce the number of wrong-way drivers, these accidents unfortunately will probably still occur.

An injured victim in a wrong-way crash should be aware of the options available to them following the incident. If a negligent driver is at fault, that driver could be held responsible for the injuries, damages and losses suffered by the victim in the crash.

Source: Ntsb.gov, “Highway Special Investigation Report: Wrong-Way Driving,” Dec. 11, 2012