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Photo: Wrong Way sign along side road

Wrong-Way Driving

Technical Materials
Other Resources
State & Federal Research
National Partners

Traffic safety and highway design literature has historically defined a wrong-way driving (WWD) crash as one in which a vehicle traveling in a direction opposing the legal flow of traffic on a high-speed divided highway or access ramp collides with a vehicle traveling on the same roadway in the proper direction. This definition typically concerns only controlled-access highways (freeways) and associated entrance and exit ramps, and excludes crashes that result from median crossover encroachments.

In the United States, WWD crashes result in 300 to 400 people killed each year on average, representing approximately 1 percent of the total number of traffic related fatalities that occur annually. While this is a small percentage overall, because WWD crashes involve head-on or opposite direction sideswipe crashes at high speeds, they tend to be relatively more severe than other types of crashes. However, there are many strategies and treatments that agencies can consider for implementation that are designed to address wrong-way manuevers, ranging from geometric design elements, to conventional traffic control devices, to various ITS-based solutions.

Technical Materials

Other Resources

Photo: Red and white Wrong Way sign along side road

State & Federal Research

  1. plus symbol Prior to 2005

    • Countermeasures for Wrong-Way Movement on Freeways: Guidelines and Recommended Practices (Texas, 2004) [PDF]
    • Recommended Ramp Design Procedures for Facilities without Frontage Roads (Texas, 2004) [PDF]
    • Countermeasures for Wrong-Way Movement on Freeways: Overview of Project Activities and Findings (Texas, 2003) [PDF]
    • Prevention of Wrong-Way Accidents on Freeways (California, 1989) [PDF]
    • Wrong-Way Movements on Partial Cloverleaf Ramps (Georgia, 1988) [PDF]
    • Wrong-Way Driving at Selected Interstate Off-ramps (Virginia, 1980) [PDF]
    • Wrong-Way Traffic Movements on Freeway Ramps (Georgia, 1979) [PDF]
    • Further Reduction in Incidents of Wrong-Way Driving (Virginia, 1977) [PDF]
    • Engineering Measures for Reducing Wrong-Way Driving (Virginia, 1975) [PDF]
    • Wrong-Way Movements on Divided Highways (Indiana, 1974) [PDF]
    • Measures for Preventing Wrong-Way Entries on Highways (Virginia, 1973) [PDF]
    • Wrong-Way Driving on California Freeways (California, 1972) [PDF]
    • Qualitative Analysis of Wrong-Way Driving in Texas (Texas, 1971) [PDF]
    • State-of-the-Art of Wrong-Way Driving on Freeways and Expressways (Texas, 1971) [PDF]
    • Wrong-Way Driving (Phase II) Final Report (California, 1965) [PDF]

National Partners

Photo: Do Not Enter and Wrong Way signs along side road

Page last modified on February 1, 2017
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