What to Do If a Wrong-Way Driver Is Coming Your Way to Avoid a Disastrous Collision
There are 300-400 wrong-way driving deaths each year in the U.S.
It’s a terrifying moment — a vehicle flying straight at you while you’re driving down the highway.
The internet is full of videos that capture the disastrous results of a wrong-way collision.
One of them features a white SUV flying down a Florida highway the wrong way. In an instant, the drunk SUV driver collides with a vehicle carrying four University of Southern Florida Students. All five people in the collision died, including Dammie Yesudas. Dammie’s brother, Jeremy, told Inside Edition it's hard to look at the shocking video.
“Every time I watch it, I kind of yell out, ‘Oh no! Turn around!'" he said.
But that is hardly an isolated case. There are 300 to 400 wrong-way driving deaths every year in the United States and your chances of surviving a wrong way collision on the highway are slim. Two cars crashing into each other at just 40 mph will almost always result in fatalities.
Sometimes the drivers are confused, but the vast majority of wrong-way driving incidents are the result of drunk drivers.
Gary Catronio lost his 21-year-old daughter, Marisa, to a wrong-way drunk driver in 2013.
“I'd give anything to hold her again,” the anguished father told Inside Edition.
He started the nonprofit “Marisa’s Way” in honor of his daughter. The group educates people on the dangers of wrong-way drivers and has been pushing local governments to install technology designed to thwart them.
Florida officials are testing out the technology on some highway on-ramps and demonstrated it for Inside Edition. When a driver heads the wrong way, signs light up warning that the vehicle is entering the ramp from the wrong direction.
If they proceed, a camera snaps photos of the vehicle and an alarm sounds at a Florida highway command center. At that point, it’s a race against time to divert the vehicle before certain disaster. A dispatcher sends the image of the wrong-way vehicle to the Florida Highway Patrol and notifies them of the vehicle’s whereabouts. Finally, signs above the highway warn drivers of the oncoming danger.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, their pilot program to test out the technology appears to be working.
Forty-one out of 42 drivers who have entered one of the 15 on-ramps where the technology is in place have either turned around on the ramp or have been successfully intercepted by police. But most highways around the country do not have this kind of technology. So, is there anything you can do to avoid a wrong-way driver?
First, stay extra alert when driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. — that 's when you're most likely to encounter a drunk driver.
Also, remember the words, "Stay right at night." Wrong-way drivers tend to drive in your left lane.
Finally, if you see a car barreling toward you, try to pull off to the right lane shoulder and once the car has safely passed, call 911.
For more information on how prevent wrong way drivers, visit the website for Marisa’s Way.
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