Wrong-way Crash On I-5 Leaves 1 Dead

A wrong-way driver on Interstate 5 in DuPont caused a crash that resulted in the death of one person, according to the Washington State Patrol. The collision occurred around 2 p.m. Thursday on southbound I-5 near the DuPont-Steilacoom Road exit. 

Police say a 46-year-old Federal Way woman driving an SUV was lost and entered I-5 from the offramp. She then struck a subcompact car. Police say the wrong-way driver is not believed to have been intoxicated. Reports say she will be charged with second-degree negligent driving.

The person who died in the crash was a 69-year-old passenger in a Suzuki Aerio. The 82-year-old driver of that vehicle was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

What To Do If Facing A Wrong-Way Driver

There are many reasons why a driver could potentially go the wrong way. Poor signage and roadways that fail to properly direct traffic are among the leading causes of wrong-way accidents. Of course, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also a main contributor to these catastrophes.

A Texas study of wrong-way accidents found that he most frequent sites of wrong-way incidents is the freeway exit ramp (i.e., a driver travels the opposite direction on an exit ramp onto the freeway main lanes). The study also revealed that between 50 and 75 percent of wrong-way accidents involve an impaired driver.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s 2012 report showed that only 51 drivers above the age of 70 were victims of wrong-way driving crashes, compared to the 233 drivers above the age of 70 who were the at-fault driver in these types of crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates wrong-way drivers are involved in 1.5 percent of all fatal crashes.

Is there anything you can do if you find yourself in a wrong-way driver situation? Wrong-way drivers are often unpredictable, but here are a few tips in case you’re in one of these predicaments.

  • Put on your turn signal: This lets the wrong-way driver know where you plan on going. In the case of an impaired wrong-way driver, they may not even know they’re on the wrong side of the road. Things get worse in these situations when the sober driver on the correct side reacts to the drunk driver. Turning in the same direction is a very real possibility.
  • Check to make sure you’re on the right side: There’s a chance that if you see someone heading straight for you that you are the one on the wrong side of the road. Check the reflectors on the road – red reflectors indicate you’re on the wrong side.
  • Scan the road ahead: Get a sense for the drivers up ahead by keeping a lookout for wrong-way drivers. 
  • Get off the road: If you have enough time to see the wrong-way driver, it’s best to just pull over yourself. Slow down being pulling over, as hitting gravel or uneven pavement at high speeds can be dangerous.

Involved In A Wrong-Way Accident?

At Davis Law Group, P.S., our Washington State car accident lawyers have dedicated their careers to providing injured victims with the experienced legal representation they need to secure the compensation they require to cover any medical bills or damages they incurred. If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a wrong-way driving crash, give Davis Law Group a call at (206) 727-4000 to speak with a member of our firm. You can also fill out our online form on this page or use the chat feature below to request a free case evaluation.

Chris Davis
Award-winning personal injury attorney and founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, Washington.
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