January marked the first death in Texas due to a wrong-way driver. Every driver knows that road reflectors on the highway at night will reflect a silvery white. If you’re going the wrong way on the highway at night, they will reflect red, meaning that you are going the wrong way! Trust me, you don’t want to be a wrong way driver. And if you are, that first time could be your last. I mean, you may not live to tell stories about it at a party. Not only will paying attention save the lives of others, it may also save your own life and the lives of your passengers. And, trust me here too, no one will EVER ride with you again EVER (did I already say EVER?). So, pay close attention to road signs and never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking alcohol, because there’s no right way to be a wrong way driver. Be safe. Drive smart.

While relatively rare (wrong way collisions accounted for only 3 % of crashes on high-speed divided highways in recent years), they typically result in fatalities. And the driver in error is typically intoxicated in about 60% of these crashes. Of course, older disoriented drivers cause these accidents as well. But even as law enforcement agencies are fighting this problem, highway officials in many states say the sometimes pricey technology can be another tool to save lives. After all, what exactly is a “life” worth? Spike strips when entering the exit ramps, lowering warning signs and even lighting those signs with flashing hazard lights are just a few tools. Intoxicated drivers tend to look downward at the roadway directly ahead of them. Installing the flashing warning signs on the roadway to let other drivers know that someone is entering the wrong way is another brilliant effort, as alerting other drivers is just as important as trying to stop the wrong way driver, right?

Also, the TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) Be Safe Drive Smart is a year-long public education and awareness effort aimed at saving lives and reducing crashes. The umbrella campaign covers all aspects of safe driving with a special focus on traffic safety in the state’s energy sectors, work zones and along the I-35 corridor, specifically. TxDOT’s goal is to make drivers aware of their own unsafe driving habits. It is said that big cities with dense populations and high numbers of vehicles per capita experience the worst crashes due to wrong-way drivers. By virtue of physics, two vehicles colliding at high speeds is often catastrophic. Many of these accidents happen late at night or in the wee morning hours. So, avoiding being on the road during those hours will possibly help the rest of us. Now we also have ride-share companies that are of reasonable cost. So there is no excuse to drive drunk, impaired, distracted or disoriented. Again, what’s a life worth?

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

A Wrong Way Driver – Comedy Defensive Driving School