Wrong-way driving

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Fatalities caused by wrong-way driving in the United States, from 1996 to 2000.
Many jurisdictions display "Wrong Way" signs at freeway off-ramps to discourage wrong-way driving. In California, they are combined on freeway off-ramps with "Do Not Enter" and "One Way" signs.

Wrong-way driving is the act of driving a motor vehicle against the direction of traffic. It can occur on either one- or two-way roads (in the latter case, arising from driving on the wrong side of the road), as well as in parking lots and parking garages, and may be due to driver inattention or impairment, or because of insufficient or confusing road markings or signage,[1] or a driver from a right-hand traffic country being unaccustomed to driving in a left-hand traffic country, and vice versa. People intentionally drive in the wrong direction because they missed an exit, for thrill-seeking, as a suicide attempt, or as a shortcut.[2]

On a divided highway, wrong-way driving is a serious problem because of the high speeds usually involved, since the result is nearly always a head-on collision. In the United States, about 350 people are killed each year in accidents caused by drivers headed in the wrong direction on the highway.[3] Most drivers who enter a divided highway or ramp in the wrong direction correct themselves by turning around.[3]

One of the aims of highway engineering is to reduce wrong-way driving.[1]

Depending on the jurisdiction, wrong-way driving is a punishable offense. In New Zealand, wrong-way driving is counted as careless driving and can result in up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to NZ$10,000.[citation needed]