Since Easter, three people died in wrong-way crashes on Las Vegas highways, the Las Vegas Sun reports, in a trend that worries authorities who are already concerned over a growing number of traffic deaths this year. In a May 23, 2012 story, The Sun reports that the latest head-on crash happened last Thursday a little before 5:00 a.m. on U.S. 95 near Flamingo Road. In that incident, an SUV was heading north in the southbound lanes, heading in the wrong direction.
According to the news story, a witness called 911 to report that a driver was heading the wrong way near Russell Road, but the warning was too late. A few moments after the call, a high-speed crash that erupted in fire occurred.
The 20-year-old man who had been driving the SUV, identified as North Las Vegas resident Mario Valencia, died at the scene of the collision. The 58-year-old man who had been driving the oncoming vehicle, identified as Ramiro Meza, died shortly after at University Medical Center.
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson told the Las Vegas Sun that wrong-way crashes are a rarity, but now two had happened in roughly a month’s time. An earlier crash occurred on Easter Sunday, in which a driver who is suspected of driving drunk, struck another vehicle head-on. That collision occurred on U.S. 95 near Ann Road around 3:45 a.m., and killed a 55-year-old man, Paul Mears, a Las Vegas resident. The suspected drunk driver, 22-year-old Nathan Moist, was arrested and booked.
As Hixson explained in The Sun’s story, the timing of those deadly crashes is like that of most wrong-way crashes, which occur in early-morning hours or late at night. There isn’t much traffic at those times, he said, and wrong-way drivers will encounter another vehicle. When they do, he explained, the result is rarely good due to the speed that the two vehicles are traveling toward each other when they collide. As The Sun reports, Hixson said in most cases, alcohol or drugs is the reason for a driver traveling the wrong way and causing a fatal crash.
Hixson also revealed that the Nevada Highway Patrol receives roughly a call a day about someone who is driving the wrong way on a Las Vegas Valley highway. Usually, however, the wrong-way driver corrects the mistake before the troopers arrive, he said, remarking that it’s very rare for a wrong-way driver to get on the freeway and continue driving. Hixson said that signage on the off-ramps could trigger a realization to the wrong-way driver, such as those that warn drivers not to enter. An additional warning comes from lane markers on the highway, which reflect red color if drivers approach from the wrong direction.
Even with preventive measures, sometimes a wrong-way driver will not be aware and continue in the wrong direction. Hixson conveyed some important tips for drivers who are driving late at night.
His first suggestion is to avoid any distractions, and to have a good field of view. Authorities recommend looking ahead at least an eighth of a mile on the highway, and avoid driving in the left lane. That’s where wrong-way drivers travel, because to them, they think it’s their right lane.
Don’t drive in that fast lane, Hixson said in The Sun’s news story. This will give you more time and area to react to avoid a collision and, he added, always anticipate the unexpected.
The Las Vegas Sun reports that more than 50 people have been killed in traffic-related crashes so far this year in the Las Vegas metro area.
If you are the victim of a wrong-way collision and your hospital bills are mounting up, then you should call Los Angeles car accident lawyer, Paul E. Lee. Our office has more than 20 years’ experience helping the victims of devastating car accidents to win the compensation that they deserve. We will fight the insurance companies and the negligent parties on your behalf. Our car accident lawyer understands the difficulties that you face following your accident and can help you cope with the pain, loss and suffering that you may feel. We have locations throughout California in cities like Los Angeles, Orange County, Bakersfield, San Diego, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, and San Jose.