Wrong-way driving crashes on French divided roads


Accident Analysis and Prevention

February 2015, vol. 75, pp.69-76

Departments: Economics & Decision Sciences, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Wrong-way driving, Logistic regression, Elderly driver, Drunk driving

Context: The objective of divided roads is to increase users’ safety by posting unidirectional traffic flows. It happens however that drivers proceed in the wrong direction, endangering themselves as well as other users. The crashes caused by wrong-way drivers are generally spotlighted by the media and call for public intervention.Objectives: This paper proposes a characterization of wrong-way driving crashes occurring on French divided road on the 2008–2012 period. The objective is to identify the factors that delineate between wrong-way driving crashes and other crashes.Method: Building on the national injury road crash database, 266 crashes involving a wrong-way driver were identified. Their characteristics (related to timing, location, vehicle and driver) are compared to those of the 22,120 other crashes that occurred on the same roads over the same period. The comparison relies on descriptive statistics, completed by a logistic regression.Results: Wrong-way driving crashes are rare but severe. They are more likely to occur during night hours and on non-freeway roads than other crashes.Wrong-way drivers are older, more likely to be intoxicated, to be locals, to drive older vehicles, mainly passenger cars without passengers, than other drivers.Perspectives: The differences observed across networks can help prioritizing public intervention. Most of the identified WW-driving factors deal with cognitive impairment. Therefore, the specific countermeasures such as alternative road signs should be designed for and tested on cognitively impaired drivers. Nevertheless, WW-driving factors are also risk factors for other types of crashes (e.g. elderly driving, drunk driving and age of the vehicle). This suggests that, instead of (or in addition to) developing WW-driving specific countermeasures, managing these risk factors would help reducing a larger number of crashes