The OPP issued an unusual warning this month to all drivers. There have been a surprising number of wrong way drivers reported in October. Wrong way driving is of course, driving in the wrong direction on a road - against traffic. In the month between October 5 and November 5 the OPP reported 25 events with vehicles travelling the wrong way on Ontario Highways with 5 of those resulting in crashes and two in deaths
A motor cyclist made headlines in late October after he turned around on the 401 during a police chase, drove against traffic and exited the highway on an on ramp. He collided with another vehicle and died on the scene.
Experts re-iterate that it is an absolutely devasting event when two cars are approaching each other at highway speeds head on. There is very little room for the cars travelling in the correct direction for manoeuvring or margin for error. Drivers simply aren’t anticipating the appearance of a car coming towards them on the highway. It is initially confusing and then the few precioius moments which exist to correct course may be gone.
The stream of cars coming head on toward the wrong way driver can also be endless on a busy highway meaning that an accident can be impossible to avoid. These calls are considered high priority by all emergency services as the risk to life is high.
The total number of wrong way drivers reported in 2018 according to the OPP is over 205 which is significant increase over last year’s numbers. Police say that ramps are clearly marked on all highways and urge drivers to pay close attention to their surroundings when they are driving. Many of the drivers heading the wrong direction were not impaired which is even more concerning. Once travelling the wrong direction on the highway, it is very difficult to correct the mistake.
Radio reports indicate that police are urging people not to be distracted while driving, to avoid driving impaired, and to pay close attention to all road signs, particularly in construction zones. Some have wondered whether the large scale of construction and the many orange pilons and signs are confusing some drivers.
If you see anyone driving in the wrong direction you should call 911 immediately.