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Wrong-way driver causes head-on tractor-trailer crash on I-40

There is no doubt that the biggest, most dangerous vehicles rolling on Interstate 40 are tractor-trailers. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, large commercial trucks are difficult to maneuver and stop, especially in emergency situations.

The Raleigh News and Observer recently reported that an SUV driver going in the wrong direction on 1-40 was killed when her SUV hit an 18-wheeler head-on in Durham, police there said.

The 24-year-old Graham woman was killed in the 4 am crash between the NC 54 and NC 751 exits, law enforcement officials said. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the violent collision.

Police officers have not said where they believe the SUV driver got on the highway or why they think she made the fatal mistake of heading west in the eastbound lanes.

The truck driver was not injured in the crash.

While investigators do not yet know why the driver was going the wrong way, they know the most common causes in wrong-way crashes, including the following:

  • Age: a disproportionate number of wrong-way drivers are age 70 or above, the National Transportation Safety Board found in research.
  • Signage: unclear on-ramp and off-ramp signs can confuse drivers about which ramp to take.
  • Night: wrong-way crashes are more likely at night when it is more likely that fatigued or impaired drivers are on the roads. Factor in diminished visibility in darkness and it’s easy to understand why more than three-quarters of wrong-way wrecks are between 6 pm and 6 am.
  • Impairment: a majority of wrong-way drivers are impaired by alcohol, drugs or both.

Those who have been injured or who have lost a loved one in a wrong-way crash should contact a Raleigh attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.

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