Wrong-way car crashes have been rising steadily for years
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego has recently seen a spike in wrong-way car crashes, several happening in the last week alone.
According to data from the Auto Club of Southern California, wrong-way crashes have actually been rising in the past decade.
Between 2015 and 2018, wrong-way driving crashes on divided highways mounted to 2,008 deaths, averaging about 500 a year, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found.
That number is up 34% from the 375 deaths annually from the years before, from 2010 to 2014.
Such collisions are often fatal and violent crashes because they are head-on, said Doug Shupe, AAA Spokesperson of Southern California, who joined KUSI’s Logan Byrnes on Good Evening San Diego.
Researchers have found the most common reasons are alcohol-impairment, older age, and driving without a passenger.
Drivers over 70 are over-represented in studies of wrong-way crashes, Shupe added.
Data shows that 87% of drivers involved in a wrong-way crash were driving alone.
Overall, alcohol-impairment is the leading cause of these accidents, Shupe said.
Shupe advised viewers that if they see a wrong-way driver approaching, slow down and quickly yet safely pull over far off to the right, as far off the freeway as possible.
Don’t slam on the brakes, causing a rear-end collision or causing someone to swerve and lose control, Shupe said.
Shupe added not to drink, take marijuana, or be under the influence of prescription drugs.
“Impaired driving kills,” Shupe emphasized.