Wrong-way driving not rare

Contrary to what one might think, instances of wrong-way driving on divided highways are not rare

When you are driving on the freeway and the yellow line appears on the right side of your vehicle, it’s past time to correct the problem.

You are driving on the wrong side of the road!

Contrary to what one might think, instances of wrong-way driving on divided highways are not rare. Thank goodness most instances are corrected by the wrong-way driver before a crash occurs.

The most common contributing factors that place a driver on the wrong side of the freeway include impairment by alcohol or drugs, confusion (most often new or elderly drivers), inattention and deliberate choice.

Confusion can be corrected for with logical ramp design and obvious signage. Inattention, alcohol and drugs can be controlled by the driver as well as most deliberate choices.

The most frightening to me is the idea that very little can be done to deter a driver that has decided on suicide.

According to the BC Coroners Service there were seven motor vehicle incident deaths in 2009 and eight in 2010 due to suicide. There was no way of determining if these were single or multiple-vehicle collisions.

What can you do to protect yourself from the wrong-way driver?

Watch the highway well ahead for signs of problems, which may include headlights on the wrong side. Use the left most lane of the highway as little as possible, especially on corners.

Wrong-way drivers usually drive in the inside lane or inside shoulder, believing they are actually on a two-lane highway.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Thursdays.

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