Unfortunately, interstate and highway crossover car accidents are not an uncommon occurrence on Hoosier roadways and elsewhere throughout the U.S. As such, we see news reports involving crossover accidents on a regular basis.
In fact, a recent crossover accident on I-69 claimed the life of a Westfield man after a northbound sedan went into the median, crashed through the cable barrier, and collided with the victim’s southbound Jeep.
High speeds and the head-on or side-impact nature of these collisions have a higher likelihood of involving traumatic and/or fatal injuries for drivers and passengers of all the vehicles involved.
Boulton Law Group has investigated a number of crossover car accidents throughout Indiana, and we have identified a number of factors that are often listed as causes for these crashes.
Causes of Crossover Car & Truck Accidents
In most instances, the cause of a crossover accident can be determined after viewing the investigating officer’s police report and/or the findings of an accident reconstructionist’s independent investigation.
Some of the more common causes of crossover car and truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Whether it is a phone or a vehicle’s on-board display, drivers continue to cause serious accidents by taking their attention off the road.
One of the tell-tale signs of a distracted driver is seeing the vehicle drift. It can take less than a second for a distracted driver to cross a lane or into a median and be facing oncoming traffic.
- Driving under the influence – A number of high-profile crossover accidents have involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Due to the impaired cognitive abilities of a drunk driver, they are sometimes even unaware that they have crossed over into a lane of oncoming traffic.
- Speeding – Excessive speeds are often listed as a contributing factor to crossover accidents.
Not only do the higher speeds reduce the amount of time or control a driver has when they crossover, they greatly increase the chances that traumatic or fatal injuries will occur.
- Weather-related incidents – Inclement conditions such as rain, snow, or ice are also primary and contributing culprits responsible for crossover accidents.
Anyone who has ever hydroplaned on a wet road, or been in a snow/ice-related skid can describe that hopeless feeling.
- Drowsy driving – A number of crossover accidents have been caused by a drowsy driver whose reaction time is delayed or otherwise affected.
Drowsy driving can be a concern with semi-truck drivers and others who may be a professional driver.
- Prescription medications – We have also investigated crossover accidents in which a driver either failed to take prescribed medication or took an improper dosage, thus affecting their ability to safely operate a vehicle.
In addition to prescription drugs, there have also been crossover accidents that occurred because a driver was not wearing their prescription glasses.
- Tire blow-outs – A sudden flat or tire blow-out can cause a driver to lose control and cross a median or lane of traffic.
Ultimately, any number of factors can cause a crossover car or truck accident, however, the question many victims will have is, “What is being done to prevent these types of collisions?”
In addition to promoting safe driving practices, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has recommended and implemented a number of safety technologies, specifically in the form of various median barriers.
Median barriers not only help to prevent the types of accidents listed above, but they can also prevent a collision on one side of a highway from spilling over into traffic traveling in the opposite direction.
Types of Interstate & Highway Median Barriers
In an effort to prevent crossover car and truck accidents, the FHWA has introduced various types of median barriers that provide separation between opposing lanes of traffic.
To determine which type of barrier is used, highway engineers examine a series of factors, including:
- traffic congestion and interstate/highway speeds
- the types of vehicles traveling on specific areas of interstate/highways
- width of the median and degree of slope
- the total number of lanes involved
- alignment of the roadway
- reviewing the number and types of crashes and collisions that have occurred on the roadway
- the expense of installing and maintaining median barriers
If a roadway meets the conditions required for a median barrier, one of the following will typically be installed:
Concrete Barriers – The most rigid type of median barrier, concrete dividers are regularly used on sections of interstates that have the most traffic, levels of congestion, and are traveling at the highest speeds.
For that reason, concrete median barriers are also commonly seen in areas where semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles commonly travel.
And while concrete barriers are the most effective at preventing crossover accidents, they also absorb the least amount of energy from vehicle contact, leaving accident victims prone to different types of crash dangers and injuries.
Steel Barriers – Commonly referred to as “guardrails,” steel barriers serve as metal railings that are constructed by a series of blocks or posts that often run through the middle of the interstate and/or highway median.
Guardrails are designed to absorb more energy than a concrete barrier and redirect a vehicle away from oncoming traffic. However, because they are not as rigid as concrete barriers, they are less likely to stop a crossover if speed is excessive or the vehicle is especially large, e.g., semi-trucks.
Cable Barriers – More common than in years past, this style of median barriers is a series of steel cables connected by posts that run horizontal to the interstate or highway.
Of the three types, cable barriers absorb the most amount of energy, however, they are still effective in redirecting or slowing a vehicle to a stop once it has entered the median.
Assuming the vehicle is not a semi-truck or traveling at excessive speeds, cables also are less likely to injure the driver and any passengers who make contact with the barrier.
Injured in an Interstate or Highway Crossover Accident?
If you or a loved one were injured in a crossover accident, we recommend that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.
Attorney Matt Boulton has more than 20 years’ experience in handling injury claims for Indiana accident victims. Matt’s record of success and approach to client service has led him to be sought after by Hoosiers throughout the state.
Boulton Law Group offers all victims of a crossover accident a Zero Fee Guarantee. This promise means that you will never pay for a friendly consultation, and you owe the firm nothing until we win your case.
To speak with Matt about your accident, contact him direct at 317-350-2680.
If you would rather write to us with your story, you can use our confidential contact form. Matt personally reviews every website contact received by our law firm.
We look forward to hearing your story and learning how we can help you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.