How to Respond to Wrong-Way DriversMississippi Legal News
If you’ve ever seen a vehicle hurtling down a road in the wrong direction, you’re likely already familiar with the sense of dread and impending danger such a sight portrays. Wrong-way accidents are only responsible for a minority of auto accident fatalities in Mississippi, but this is due to a low incidence rate of wrong-way driving in the first place. When looking proportionally at wrong-way drivers who end up in collisions, statistics show a tremendous increase in fatality rates.
Why Wrong-Way Driving Occurs
On paper, wrong-way driving sounds easy to avoid—after all, highways and one-way streets feature prominent signage warning drivers who travel in the wrong direction. On two-sided roads, it’s not hard to tell that if you’re on the left side, you’re in serious trouble. In practice, however, a variety of factors contribute to wrong-way driving being as common as it is:
- Wrong-way driving is most common on poorly maintained one-way streets where drivers may miss warning signs altogether, especially while no traffic is present to tip them off to their mistake.
- Most wrong-way driving occurs late at night, where signs may be easier to miss and intoxication/ exhaustion is more prevalent. The hours between 1 and 3 a.m. are most dangerous, as bars tend to close around that time, resulting in more and more drunk drivers.
- The vast majority of wrong-way drivers are severely impaired by drugs, alcohol, or sleep deprivation, so much so that they may only tangentially be aware of the road and drivers around them.
Responding to Wrong-Way Drivers
If you see a wrong-way driver, you should immediately prioritize your safety. Slow down and get off the road as soon as possible or, if you can’t slow down, steer to whatever side of the road puts the most distance between you and the wrong-way driver. Do not assume that the other driver will notice or try to avoid you. Once you’re safe, you can call 911 and report the wrong-way driver so that police can ensure that they’re removed from the road. Once notified, traffic enforcement personnel will usually establish signs on freeways and larger roads clearly warning all motorists of a wrong-way driver, miles in advance.
Recovering From Mississippi Wrong-Way Auto Accidents
Mississippi’s actual penalties for wrong-way driving aren’t perfectly consistent or clear, involving a minimum fine of $100, yet with the potential to be far more severe based on the particulars of a case. If a driver made an honest mistake around a hidden one-way road sign, they’d get off relatively lightly, whereas drivers who were found to be impaired or were otherwise driving recklessly are bound to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Driving down the wrong side of a highway while impaired, for example, is often treated as a felony.
However, citations, fines, and jail time for the guilty driver won’t actually pay your bills, nor will they help you recover from your injuries and damages. For that, you’ll need to talk to one of Germany Law Firm PLLC’s Mississippi auto accident attorneys at (601) 401-6884. With the help of a legal professional, you’ll be able to build a strong case for compensation, proving that the other party’s wrong-way driving was wholly or predominantly to blame for your collision and resulting injuries; this is based on the legal concept of comparative fault in accidents, which will reduce your claim in direct proportion to your personal liability.