NewsOperation Safe Roads


2021 among deadliest years of wrong-way driving deaths

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Posted at 4:58 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 18:58:29-05

PHOENIX — It’s been a very deadly year on Valley roads.

The last wrong way incident happened on the westbound lanes of Loop 202, near McClintock Drive on Thanksgiving day.

The Department of Public Safety says a passenger inside the wrong-way car has died.

Maria Wojtczak, the owner of DrivingMBA, says it feels like the number of wrong-way crashes keep going up with time.

“We’re seeing just a lot of anger, a lot of people being rushed... very stressed out there. So that doesn’t end well,” she told ABC15.

Wojtczak says DriveMBA is a place where students learn about strategic and defensive driving.

“So paying attention, what’s going on around you in your environment and knowing, okay what do I need to do to get out of harm's way,” she added.

That includes teaching them to avoid a wrong-way driver.

Wojtczak says to avoid a wrong-way driver, it's best practice to always look ahead.

Then if you see a wrong-way driver, take your foot off the accelerator, and move over subtly to get out of the way.

Officials say, on Thursday, a wrong-way car on Loop 202 initially hit a DPS unit and another car.

No one was hurt in that crash.

Then the driver caused a second head-on crash with another vehicle, resulting in serious injuries and the death of a passenger in the wrong-way vehicle.

A DPS spokesman said a motorcycle rider was also taken to the hospital after crashing into another vehicle on an on-ramp near the wrong-way crash scene.

ABC15 has kept track of media-reported wrong-way crashes in the Valley.

The data shows, so far this year, the valley has seen 30 major wrong-way driving incidents.

Of these, 10 ended in deadly crashes, making 2021 the deadliest out of the last three years.

Here’s what Wojtczak says you can do to stay safe on the road.

“Slow down, make sure you have your seatbelt on, and pay attention. Don’t drive distracted,” she told ABC15.