Three men in their 20s were killed when their vehicle went over a double yellow line, traveling into a southbound lane. The drivers hit another motorist, according to OC Register. The cause of the collision was under investigation, with a toxicology report expected since alcohol or drug use may have been a factor in the crash.
Fatalities and serious car accident-related injuries are common in head-on crashes, and prevention of head-on crashes can save lives. Part of being able to reduce the risk of these types of accidents is knowing where head-on collisions are most likely to occur in Orange County.
Where are Head-On Collisions Most Likely to Occur in Orange County
Primary locations of head-on collisions include on and off ramps leading to freeways, as well as on freeways themselves. In many cases, crashes occur when a wrong-way driver enters the freeway. There were 27 fatalities in wrong-way crashes in the state of California in 2011 and almost twice as many fatalities in wrong-way crashes in 2012 when 53 people died. In 2012, the number of people killed in wrong-way crashes fell slightly to 44 according to KCRA.
Cloverleaf-designed freeway entrance and exit areas are among the riskiest location for head-on crashes. Federal Highway Administration describes these dangerous areas as locations where there is an exit ramp situated directly next to an entrance ramp to a highway. The entry and exit ramp run parallel to each other. If a driver tries to make a left turn at a cloverleaf-designed freeway entrance, the driver is going to have to travel directly passed the exit lane before getting into the correct entry lane.
Another high-risk location for head-on crashes include undivided roadways with two lanes of opposing traffic separated only by a yellow light. Many of these types of roadways exist in rural areas. Safety Transportation indicates 75 percent of head-on accidents happen in rural locations and 75 percent happen on these two lane undivided roads.
Putting dividers onto two-lane roadways could help to bring down the risk of head-on crashes. Cable dividers have been suggested as the most advantageous type of divider to use because the cable divider will provide clear delineation of different sides of the road but will have more give in case it is struck by a vehicle.
Preventing head-on collisions on freeways due to drivers going the wrong way could involve changing and improving pavement markings and changing and improving signs telling motorists "Do Not Enter" or "Wrong Way." Pavement markings should be easy and clear so drivers know just where to go to get on the highway. Signs should be positioned low, so it is easiest to see them with the headlights of a vehicle at night.
Lawmakers who design roadways should be sure they are aware of common locations of wrong-way accidents so they can provide proper signage and otherwise ensure safety precautions are followed.