New Measures Being Taken To Prevent Wrong Way Driving Crashes

New Measures Being Taken To Prevent Wrong Way Driving Crashes

California’s Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been monitoring and studying wrong way collisions since 1985. According to Caltrans Division of Safety Programs fact sheet, there were 248 crashes in 2019 on the state highway system. These crashes are rare, they only make up .0011 percent of all highway crashes, but they are often deadly. Most recently Caltrans has been working in coordination with the UC Davis Advanced Highway Maintenance and Construction Technology (AHMCT) Research Center to test two different measures to prevent wrong-way crashes in Sacramento and San Diego.

Red Retro Reflective Pavement Markings 

The first preventative measure was to put red reflective pavement markings on highway ramps in an arrow shape to indicate to the driver that they are traveling the wrong direction. This method proved so successful that, according to a Caltrans news release, the number of wrong way drivers decreased by 44 percent in San Diego after the reflectors were installed.

LED-Illuminated Signs 

California also approved further use of LED-illuminated “wrong-way” and “do not enter” signs and in-pavement LED lights systems. Additionally, the pilot program tested using radar systems to detect wrong way drivers, which would then activate a secondary set of LED “wrong-way” signs.


In 2020, Caltrans will be piloting a new program to prevent wrong-way drivers called LaneAlert2XTM. This bidirectional pavement marking system includes the following:

  • a 24-inch “Do Not Enter” marking;
  • Wrong way message;
  • Wrong way arrow; and
  • 250 feet of red arrows on the lane line.

This marking system will be piloted on 10 ramps across Sacramento and another 30 ramps in the San Diego area.

Causes of Wrong Way Collisions 

Wrong way crashes are not exclusive to highways or state roads. They can happen anywhere and often lead to head-on collisions, which are particularly dangerous to car occupants because of the forces at the time of impact. Wrong way collisions are more likely to occur at night, which is why many piloted prevention measures include lights or reflective material to help warn drivers. Common causes of wrong way collision include:

  • Drowsy driving that leads to a driver swerving into oncoming traffic;
  • Drunk driving;
  • Distracted driving where a driver fails to notice they have crossed the yellow lines;
  • Poor visibility because of vegetation or buildings;
  • Elderly;
  • Ramp design or poorly marked ramps;
  • Drivers experiencing a medical emergency such as a heart attack;
  • Lack of signs or a driver unfamiliar with the area; and
  • More.

Solution Now Law Firm Handles Personal Injury Claims After Wrong Way Collisions 

While Caltrans is making very good strides at preventing wrong way collisions on state highways, wrong way collisions still occur on all California roads, causing injuries and sometimes death. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision with a driver who was traveling the wrong way it is important to seek legal help from an experienced San Jose car accident attorney. An attorney will help you file a personal injury claim so that you can seek financial compensation for the injuries. Contact the Solution Now Law Firm offices at 408-716-2331 to schedule a free consultation.


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