The Arizona Department of Public Safety received more than 1,600 reports of a wrong-way driver in 2016.
Raul Garcia, public information officer for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said “A very small percentage of that 1,600 has resulted in a crash, and in many instances, these people reorient themselves or get to where they are going and exit the highway.”
However, 27 of those incidents have had serious injury or death and more than 100 of the involved drivers were arrested with suspicion of impairment.
So, what can be done to stop or help prevent future accidents involving wrong-way drivers?
The Arizona Department of Transportation is planning to test a prototype wrong-way detection system along a 4 mile stretch of Interstate 17. They will use existing in-pavement sensors to detect and alert state troopers of wrong-way drivers. Read more about this plan here.
There are a few things you can do to avoid wrong-way drivers too.
- Avoid driving in the fast lane at night, because wrong-way drivers believe it is the slow lane.
- Avoid driving late at night (past midnight i.e.) and on weekends when more drunk drivers are on the road
- Take public transportation where available.
If you do see a wrong-way driver, slow down and get to the shoulder. Once you’re able to safely come to a stop, call 9-1-1. You can also sound your horn and flash your lights as a way to alert the wrong-way driver.
There are no significant differences between Arizona’s figures and national figures on wrong-way crashes, but every preventable crash and life that can be saved is worth the extra effort.
-AZ Insurance Team
*This photo provided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety shows the mangled remains of cars