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Causes of West Palm Beach Wrong-Way Collisions

Head-on accidents are frequently caused by drivers who travel in the wrong direction on highways, one-way roads, or divided roads with opposing lines of traffic. Understanding the causes of wrong-way accidents is key to reducing the number of head-on accidents, and to saving lives.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFlorida Traffic Crash Statistics for one recent year revealed that 153 fatal head-on crashes occurred within the state. These head-on accidents accounted for 4.97 percent of deadly collisions. The same year, there were also 7,575 injuries in head-on accidents. This made head-on crashes the cause of 3.4 percent of all injuries caused in car accidents in the state.

What are the Causes of West Palm Beach Wrong-Way Collisions?

Drivers may go the wrong way for lots of different reasons on Florida's roads.  One big issue in Florida is there are a lot of senior drivers. Older motorists tend to be at higher risk of getting into wrong-way accidents. While the majority of wrong-way crashes are caused by people ages 20 to 50, seniors 70 and older are disproportionately represented among motorists who travel in the wrong direction.

Data from National Transportation Safety Board revealed motorists ages 70 to 79 were 2.5 times as likely to cause accidents by going the wrong way as motorists who were ages 60 to 69.  Once a driver had reached 80 years of age, the motorist had 30 times the risk of a wrong-way crash.

Another big issue in West Palm Beach is visitors who may not be familiar with local roads and with highway on-ramps and off-ramps. The most dangerous set-up for a highway on/off ramp is called a cloverleaf setup. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reports this setup involves an exit ramp and an on ramp which are located in a parallel, adjacent pattern. This forces a driver who is making a lefthand turn to go past the initial (incorrect) lane before getting onto the right lane. This can create confusion when motorists are not aware of exactly where to turn.

Finally, alcohol use among locals and visitors is a big issue as well. Alcohol is a factor in 60 percent of wrong-way accidents, or in around 65 percent of these types of collisions involve drivers age 20 to 39. Wrong-way drivers are around three times as likely to have had a prior conviction for impaired driving in the three years prior to the crash as other motorists, with nine percent of drivers who go the wrong way having been convicted of a recent DUI.

Drivers need to know the risks, especially between the hours of 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM, which is when 78 percent of wrong-way collisions occurs. If motorists stay sober, if seniors make sure to stop driving when they are no longer capable of doing so safely, and if roads are designed with clear signs and delineations at an appropriate height, hopefully fewer wrong-way drivers will cause head-on crashes on Florida's roads.

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