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How can you avoid a wrong-way collision on the highway?

Wrong-way collisions aren't the most frequent form of highway accidents that you can encounter -- but they may be among the most deadly.

According to studies by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), wrong-way accidents account for only about 3 percent of motor vehicle accidents -- but they can be up to 27 times more deadly.

As a result, the NTSB has been working for decades to find ways to help drivers reduce the number of wrong-way collisions. All told, the NTSB has issued at least 30 recommendations aimed at countering the problem over the years.

However, the single most significant factor in wrong-way accidents is something that the NTSB can't really control: the driver.

If you're a driver, what can you do to avoid a wrong-way accident?

-- Stay straight and sober when you're driving. Drug and alcohol use is considered a major factor in many wrong-way collisions.

-- Use a navigator. If you're travelling in an unfamiliar area, try to take someone with you who knows the area or who can at least help you navigate safely.

-- Don't drive while you are tired. Drowsy driving can be as deadly as drunk or drugged driving, especially if it causes you to miss a road sign or get turned the wrong way on a road.

-- Stay focused on the road. Distracted driving has become a national problem over the years as personal technology items, like cellphones, have become more mobile than ever.

-- Pay attention to campaigns aimed to end wrong-way driving. For example, Florida began using the slogan "Stay Right At Night" to remind drivers that it's harder to end up in the wrong lane from the right side of the road. Hugging the right lane won't get you to your destination in a hurry, but it may get you there alive. You stand less of a chance of getting confused and turning the wrong way on an off-ramp or on-ramp even in unfamiliar areas.

If you end up in the path of a wrong-way driver, do your best to stay calm and try to avoid a serious car accident. If you're injured, however, an attorney can provide information about filing a claim for compensation.

Source: NTSB.gov, "Wrong-Way Driving," accessed May 03, 2017

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