AAA discusses wrong-way driving trends after deadly weekend on Lexington roads

Posted at 12:18 PM, Jun 07, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Not one, but two head-on collisions took place on Lexington’s roads over the weekend. In all, seven people were killed including four children and their mother from Owenton.

“Wrong way collisions are usually the worst because they are head-on,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins from her Lexington branch of the Automobile Club of America.

Kentucky averaged a little more than five fatalities from head-on crashes between 2010 and 2014. That number dropped to an average of three annually from 2015-2018. But already we’ve eclipsed those numbers only six months into 2021, and they’ve all occurred in Lexington. In April, a similar accident occurred on New Circle Road involving a Lexington police officer who was critically injured.

“Alcohol impairment was the No. 1 risk we found,” said Weaver Hawkins of the AAA foundation’s research into head-on collisions across the nation.

Weaver Hawkins said there are other factors too including a driver’s age, poorly lit or marked highway ramps, or confusion from construction zone markings.

Weaver Hawkins said having a second person in the vehicle, even if the driver is impaired, has been shown to substantially help in avoiding these types of crashes.

AAA has been very proactive in recent years trying to mitigate the rate at which these collisions happen, but oftentimes the onus falls on each state to ensure proper signage. But most of the time, the onus falls on the driver.

“Six out of 10 (crashes) are due to impairment,” Weaver Hawkins said.

AAA also believes the rate of these incidents can increase with the seasons. The summer driving season is often the most deadly time, because as Weaver Hawkins indicated you’ve got more road work, more motorists, and many of them are younger and less experienced. Of the older drivers who can oftentimes run into instances of wrong-way driving, Weaver Hawkins offered some advice.

“We want people to be able to drive safely for as long as possible and have that freedom. But if a person is getting to a point when they don’t feel comfortable getting on a highway, then take the surface street and just avoid it,” she suggests.