HARTFORD (WWLP) – A wrong-way driver struck a police cruiser on Interstate 91 in New Haven on Friday night, an accident part of an alarming growing trend.
An increase in these types of crashes have been a deadly trend over the last decade. 22News spoke to AAA as to why they occur and if there’s anything we can do to avoid them. In about 80% of these cases, the driver is impaired by alcohol or other substances, but not always. Sometimes the driver is experiencing a medical emergency while others may just be confused by signage or as simple as it seems they’re just driving alone.
“When people are driving with a passenger, the risk of being involved in a wrong way driving crash drops significantly. So if you’re driving with someone, you actually have much better odds in not getting in one of those types of crashes,” said Mark Schieldrop, Public Affairs Specialist at AAA Northeast.
What worries many is that these types of crashes are becoming more common. In Massachusetts alone, around 30 deaths have been attributed to wrong-way vehicle crashes since 2014.
If you do see someone driving the wrong way off an exit, AAA said you should drive safely out of the way as quickly as possible, most likely to the right, and then you should honk to get the cars attention.
“But if you do see a wrong-way driver approaching, slow down, move to the right as far as possible. We found that wrong way drivers tend to occupy the left most lane,” said Schieldrop.
Scheildrop also told 22News if possible, don’t panic and swerve off the road. Flash your vehicle’s lights to make the wrong way driver aware of your car. As soon as it is safe to do so, you are advised to call 911 and report the driver with the most accurate description you can.