Florida law enforcement officials have begun the “Stay Right at Night” campaign to remind drivers of the need to pay attention at divided highway on-ramps and off-ramps such as interstate highways. This is where a significant number of fatal or serious car accidents occur in Central Florida because of the high speed nature of the divided highway and the unexpected danger presented by a wrong way driver. When encountering a wrong way driver, most people do not know what the statistics show is the best way to react. Please notice that I suggest that the statistics what is the best way to react and not what “science” determines the best was to react. The statistics are merely statistics and are not scientifically proven as the best way to react under the circumstances.
FHP Tracks Wrong Way Accidents
The Florida Highway Patrol is reported to have begun tracking wrong-way accidents in Central Florida starting in September 2014 after they realized that the number of wrong-way accidents was increasing. There have been more than 380 reported calls about wrong-way motorists on Central Florida roads. In 2015 alone, it was reported that FHP responded to 292 wrong-way accidents across six different counties. Of those responses, 24 people were killed and 300 were injured.
It was reported that there were more than 1,400 accidents across the entire state with 96 deaths statewide. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles researched the issued of wrong-way accidents with all the data available to them over the course of a two year period.
They made the obvious find that an overwhelming number of accidents ended in serious injuries or death and occurred in the left lane of a divided highway or interstate highway. They suggest the reason for this might be that when a driver starts going the wrong way, the driver will tend to imitate normal driving as much as possible by keeping to the right but going the wrong direction.
2012 NTSB Reports On Wrong Way Accidents
The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) made a report in 2012 finding that wrong-way accidents are more infrequent than any other type of accident on a high speed or divided highway, but they are significantly more likely to result in a serious injury or death than any other type of accident. This stands to reason as the delta-V (or relative difference in speed between the two vehicles) is greater on divided highways and interstates.
Applying a little physics to a head-on collision, the law of conservation of momentum applies. The formula is above in the image. The principle is actually quite simple–the greater the mass of the object and the greater the velocity equal a larger collision.