Theisen & Associates, LLC

If you see a wrong-way driver, you have 1.5 seconds

Many wrong-way driver accidents happen because drunk drivers accidentally get on the interstate or a one-way road going the wrong direction. However, this also happens when drivers get distracted, feel exhausted or simply get confused and make mistakes. A driver may misinterpret the instructions from the GPS, for instance, and turn onto a road going to the wrong way without immediately realizing their mistake.

No matter how it happens, it's incredibly dangerous. If you see a wrong-way driver -- perhaps just the headlights coming your way -- police experts claim that you have to make a decision in the next 1.5 seconds. That's all the time you have.

So, what should you do?

Do not brake too hard

While you may feel like slamming on the brakes is the best option, hitting them too hard can prove more dangerous. Your car could flip out of control and may still be in the path of that oncoming vehicle. You can reduce your speed, but don't panic and try to bring your car to zero miles per hour in 1.5 seconds. It's impossible and increases the odds of an accident.

Don't be afraid to hit something else

Many drivers get into a head-on crash in this situation because they freeze. They want to take evasive action, but they don't know where to go. Maybe there's a wooded median on one side and a guardrail on the other. They don't swerve because they don't want to hit anything else.

Here's the unfortunate reality: If you are definitely going to get hit head-on, that's the most dangerous type of accident. At high speeds, it's generally fatal. Experts claim that almost any other crash is better. Swerving into the guardrail may destroy that side of your car as you skid to a stop, but that's far safer than getting hit by the wrong-way driver.

Never drive in the left lane, especially at night

One way to avoid a crash is to make sure your car is in the proper lane to begin with. Remember that a wrong-way driver may think that your left-hand lane is actually their lane. For that reason, you always want to drive in your right-hand lane, only using the left lane to pass. Never linger there, as that's where a confused -- or intoxicated -- wrong-way driver is most likely to show up. By staying right, you let them pass without incident.

After an accident

These tips can help, but you still only have 1.5 seconds. Accidents happen. You may not avoid it. If you have significant medical bills and other costs, make sure you know about all of the legal rights you may have to seek financial compensation.

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Theisen & Associates, LLC

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Fort Wayne, IN 46802

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