The Georgia Department of Transportation reports one out of every 10 fatal crashes that occurred on a two-way off-system road was a head-on collision within the state of Georgia. A third of these crashes happened at night, or at either dawn or dusk. These collisions occurred when drivers left their lane and moved over into oncoming traffic. Drivers losing control of their vehicle on any road also represent a large portion of head-on crashes.
Head-on car crashes are among the most serious and deadly. Understanding where head-on crashes are most likely to happen in Georgia is essential in attempting to reduce the risk these collisions can create for motorists.
Head-On and Wrong-Way Crashes in Georgia
As drivers get ready for holiday travel, it is important to identify ways to be safer, including learning where head-on accidents occur and how they can be prevented.
Head-on crashes frequently occur on two lane undivided roads, as well as on highways. Many of the accidents happen in rural areas. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns 13 percent of fatal accidents in rural areas are head-on accidents. In urban areas, only seven percent of deadly crashes are head-on crashes.
Not only are head-on crashes more likely to be deadly on rural roads, these types of accidents are also significantly more likely to occur in rural areas. Safety Transportation warns 75 percent of head-on collisions occur on rural roads and 75 percent of head-on collisions occur on undivided two-lane roadways.
Highways are also a dangerous place for head-on crashes if drivers get onto the highway going in the wrong direction. Cloverleaf designs for highway entrance and exit ramps are areas which are especially common sites of wrong-way crashes leading to head-on highway accidents. A cloverleaf design places an entrance ramp adjacent and parallel to an exit ramp, which necessitates a driver who is making a left turn to go right past the wrong lane in order to get onto the highway.
Motorists need to take responsibility by being especially careful in locations where head-on accidents occur, including highway on-ramps, highway-off ramps, highways, and rural undivided two lane roads. Road design can also make a difference in preventing head-on crashes.
The Georgia Department of Transportation suggests adding a cable barrier, other physical barrier, or median could help to prevent head-on crashes. Cable barriers are generally preferred when possible because the cables provide an effective divide but the cable is able to give as the vehicle hits it. The give in the cable barrier means there is a reduced risk of injury, as compared with situations where there is a solid barrier. Rumble strips being used on the center line have also proved effective at helping to reduce head-on collisions. On highways and near on or off-ramps, putting “Wrong Way” signs lower down can help to reduce head-on crash risks.