In South Carolina, there were 54 fatal accidents in 2013 where drivers went the wrong way or went onto the wrong side of the road. According to the South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book for 2013, there were also 2,547 crashes causing injury because a driver was on the wrong side or went the wrong way on the road. In total, 1,332 crashes involved drivers going in the wrong direction or traveling on the wrong side of the roadway.
Wrong-way accidents are usually head-on collisions, although head-on accidents can also occur for other reasons besides drivers going the wrong way. Head-on car crashes happen when drivers cross into opposing traffic, striking another vehicle directly from the front. Knowing where head-on collisions are most likely to occur is very important for South Carolina drivers because these accidents are frequently fatal or very serious. Drivers who are more aware of high-risk zones can make informed choices about how to stay safe.
Where Are Head-on Crashes Most Likely to Occur?
In South Carolina, 40.2 percent of fatal collisions happened on state secondary routes. There were 289 fatal crashes on state secondary roads in South Carolina in 2013. These fatal crashes caused 307 deaths, which was 40 percent of total deaths statewide.
Secondary roads in rural areas are a dangerous place for head-on crashes. Safety Transportation indicated 75 percent of head-on collisions nationwide occur in more rural areas, compared with more urban areas. It is small two-lane undivided roads which are the most dangerous, with these types of roadways identified as the site of 75 percent of head-on collisions throughout the United States.
In 2013, 59 fatal crashes also occurred on South Carolina interstates, causing 63 deaths. Wrong-way accidents can happen on interstates, as well as on entrance ramps and exit ramps leading to highways. Federal Highway Administration studied 110 different wrong-way collisions in order to determine where head-on accidents were most likely to occur when drivers got onto a street going in the wrong direction. There were 71 collisions on the actual freeway, 31 on exit ramps leading off freeways, two on entrance ramps leading onto freeways, and six on freeway-to-freeway connecting ramps. When drivers get onto a highway, entrance or exit ramp in the wrong way, there's often nowhere for opposing traffic to go to avoid a high-speed, head-on crash.
Drivers should be aware head-on crashes are especially likely on rural roads and on locations near highways so motorists can be especially careful to watch for pavement markings and signs indicating "Wrong Way" or "Do Not Enter." Staying sober, avoiding distractions, and otherwise driving carefully can help motorists to significantly reduce the chances they will become involved in a wrong-way wreck.