If you’ve ever been involved in an accident with a wrong-way driver, you know how surprising and devastating it is. One minute, you’re following traffic, and the next, people are quickly steering into other lanes and making emergency maneuvers to avoid getting hit by a wrong-way driver. With not much time to move, chances are that you’ll get hit by that wrong-way driver or by someone trying to out-maneuver them.
One state proposal would put spikes down at freeway on-ramps to help prevent wrong-way drivers from entering the roadways. Is that really the right answer, though?
State Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita wrote a bill, HB 2539, that would call for spikes to be placed on on-ramps. Those spikes would essentially shred the tires of anyone entering the ramp from the wrong direction. She believes that these strips should be added onto highway entrances and exits where there is a high potential for a wrong-way driver to enter.
While there were over 1,700 wrong-way driving incidents recognized across Arizona in 2017, many people still disagree with the idea of placing spikes on the roads. Why? If someone is traveling fast enough, shredding the car’s tires could lead to a serious collision. This could also prevent emergency vehicles from using the on-off ramps in the wrong direction with lights and sirens when trying to quickly exit a traffic accident scene with injured victims. DPS officers would no longer be able to divert traffic by using the on-off ramp in the wrong direction to clear traffic jams after an accident. On top of that, larger signs are already in place, and a greater number of police patrols in dangerous areas could potentially provide the same support with fewer risks to drivers. Even the Arizona Department of Transportation has concerns about using spikes, because it does not believe that they’d be effective on a freeway ramp
Wrong-way accidents are becoming more frequent in Arizona , and they can have tragic results when they take place. Many of these accidents are a result of impaired driving. People enter the highway believing that they’re traveling the right direction, but they’re really going the wrong way. Since it’s a highway, accidents tend to be head-on collisions at high speeds, which often leads to severe injuries or death.
Not all wrong-way collisions are caused by people who are impaired. Sometimes, drivers who lose their bearings get turned around. Other times, it’s a medical emergency that ends up causing trouble behind the wheel.
The above bill is just one possible solution that could keep wrong-way drivers off of the roads. Preventing these drivers from entering the roadways would be a step in the right direction. The right way to do that is still being debated in Arizona.