Wrong Way on Divided Highways

Do Not Enter SignIt is fortunate that this type of collision is relatively rare because the consequences are severe. I am speaking of driving the wrong way on a divided highway or freeway. We received about one complaint a month when I was working on Central Island Traffic Services in Parksville.

The most frequent reasons for traveling the wrong way include impaired driving, attempts at suicide and genuine confusion. Other reasons can include age, mental defect or disease and confusing signage. One study that I read indicated that some do not enter signs were posted too high to be in the normal scanning path of older drivers.

So, how do you protect yourself from a wrong way driver? Travel in the right lane except when passing as it is most likely the wrong way driver will be in the lane to your left. If you don't have daytime running lights, turn on your headlights. Scan well ahead at all times, and finally, wear your seatbelt properly.

What to do if you encounter a wrong way driver? Move to the right onto the shoulder and stop. Reducing the closing speed of the vehicles and not taking the collision forces directly head on will improve chances for survival.

Reference Links:

North Texas Tollway Authority Wrong‐Way Driver Task Force Staff Analysis (PDF)

Institute for Road Safety Research Wrong Way Driving Factsheet (PDF)

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