A Grants Pass man faced several charges following an October 2, 2013 wrong way driver-involved non-injury crash on Interstate 5 about four miles north of Grants Pass. At approximately 6:00am, the driver of a Ford van, traveling southbound in the northbound lanes, sideswiped a Toyota Camry traveling in the left northbound lane next to a commercial truck that was in the right lane. The Toyota’s driver unsuccessfully tried to avoid the oncoming van by steering to the right next to a commercial truck, whose driver was flashing the truck’s headlights in an attempt to get the attention of the van’s driver.

The driver of the van was cited by Oregon State Police on the following charges:

  • Reckless driving
  • Recklessly endangering another person
  • Failure to perform the duties of a driver involved in a traffic crash
  • Criminal mischief in the second degree
  • Resisting arrest

Protecting Yourself from Wrong Way Drivers

Wrong way drivers are a danger to all motorists. Recent crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates wrong way drivers are involved in 1.5% of all fatal crashes nationally, usually head-on or sideswipe crashes. Traveling in the inside lane or inside shoulder, they believe they are actually on a two-lane highway.

Drivers traveling in the wrong direction may be:

  • Intoxicated
  • Confused and disoriented
  • Intentionally trying to avoid traffic jams or congestion
  • Inattentive, mistaking an off ramp for an on ramp

Drivers should be watchful for signs of a possible wrong way driver. Besides headlights coming in the opposite direction, other traffic braking or swerving to avoid something could be a warning sign. It is also a good idea to avoid driving long periods in the inside lane on freeways, especially on curves.