Houston Police Department
Help Us, Help You in Encounters with Wrong-Way Drivers

May 6, 2015 - HPD is offering the following tips to motorists seeking to stay safe on the roadways, especially when dealing with wrong-way drivers.

Wrong-Way Driving/Crashes
Wrong-way driving occurs for a variety of reasons including impairment, driver inattention, or insufficient or confusing road markings or signage.  While wrong-way crashes are relatively infrequent, they are more likely to cause serious injuries or death, especially on the freeway or entrance/exit ramps, due to the higher speeds involved.  Most wrong-way crashes on the freeway occur in the lane closest to the median (the fast lane).  Wrong-way crashes are more prevalent overnight, especially in the early morning hours with almost 80% occurring between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.  In Texas, most such accidents occurred in the 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. hour. 

What the Public Can Do

There are some steps the public can take to help keep themselves safe.

  1.  Always remain alert and keep your attention on the roadway, constantly looking ahead for potential problems.
  2. If you are on the freeway, especially overnight, try to stay in the right lane (slow lane) to avoid hitting someone who may be traveling the wrong way in the fast lane.
  3. If you encounter a wrong-way driver, slow down, move over to the shoulder and then call 9-1-1.  The priority is remaining safe, then reporting the sighting.
  4. DO NOT attempt to follow a wrong-way driver.
  5. Check the reflectors on the road.  Red reflectors mean you are going the wrong way.

Wrong-Way Driving Statistics

  1. Most wrong-way accidents occur on Saturday and Sunday, with Friday being the third most prevalent day of the week.
  2. Per month, HPD receives between two to 10 reports of wrong-way drivers on the freeways.
  3. In Texas, most reported wrong-way drivers seldom result in a crash.  In most cases, wrong-drivers eventually correct themselves and proceed in the right direction.
  4. Wrong-way drivers have a history of being bad drivers.
    1. They have a higher percentage of a DWI conviction within the three years prior to the accident.
    2. They generally have more traffic violations than the average driver.
    3. They generally are involved in more crashes than the average driver.
    4. On average, about 360 people die nationwide every year in wrong-way crashes.

HPD's Help US, Help You campaign is aimed at sharing information and educating citizens on crime prevention and everyday tips related to public safety in our city.

KJS/JFC  5-6-15


For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.