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Collateral Damages of Driving Under the Influence

A wrong-way driver entered the northbound lanes on Interstate 405, near Talbot Road, around 2:15 am Tuesday morning.  Eyewitnesses called 911 to report the crash just moments later.

The State Patrol said the causing driver was a 33-year-old woman from Sea-Tac. Emergency responders took her to Harborview Medical Center for treatment, as she suffered serious injuries. Authorities have placed her in custody on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI).

Responders also took a 48-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy who suffered injuries to an area hospital.

“We’re counting our blessings that no one was seriously or fatally hurt in this crash,” said Trooper Chase Van Cleave, with the Washington State Patrol.  “It’s just a stark reminder that if you drink, or do drugs, or anything that impairs your driving, please don’t get behind the wheel.  Because serious and dangerous things can definitely happen.”

Going in the Wrong Direction

Wrong-way driving crashes result in roughly 300 to 400 deaths annually. This accounts for about 1 percent of the total number of traffic-related deaths that occur in that same timeframe. For the most part, they are typically rare in a country with over 200 million licensed drivers. Although not common, they are usually very serious, if not, fatal. Wrong-way driving crashes are usually head-on or opposite direction sideswipe crashes at high speeds, and tend to be more severe than other types of crashes.

The Department of Transportation and city engineers work hard to plan and install signage and barriers to prevent wrong-way driving incidents from occurring.  

From studies that show the frequency of such crashes and the common causing factors, data shows that wrong-way driving crashes are most likely to occur after dark, where visibility is poor. In higher risk age groups, like the elderly, disorientation and unfamiliarity can lead to entering the roadway in the wrong direction.  But in more cases than not, the predominant factor that increases the chances of a wrong-way occurrence is among drivers who’ve consumed elevated levels of alcohol.

Safety Tips for Drivers

Here are a few safety tips for motorists to avoid wrong way driving crashes:

  • Stay Right at Night to avoid crashes with wrong way drivers.
  • Call 911 immediately to report wrong way drivers. If you see a wrong way driver approaching, immediately reduce your speed and pull off the roadway.
  • Stay alert – do not drive distracted. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Learn and obey all traffic signs. If you drive past a wrong way sign, turn around immediately. When you see a posted red sign, think: “Stop.” “Do Not Enter.” “Wrong Way.”

Follow the Signs

Courtesy of:

Safety and road signs are color-coded. Wrong-way or DO NOT ENTER signs are always in red.  It’s important to be aware of what the colors of each sign means so that if visibility or confusion is ever an issue, the colors will help indicate where to not go, when in doubt. Safety for every driver, passenger, commuter, and roadway traveler is the priority of the department of transportation and how they sign the roads.

Our Auto Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help You

If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident or hit by a wrong-way driver, contact Fielding Law Group today for a free legal consultation. Our team of experienced auto accident attorneys can help you recover and receive the compensation you deserve. Remember–don’t let an accident wreck YOU!