Avoiding Wrong Way Traffic Accidents With LED Systems

With distracted driving more prevalent than ever, extra focus must be placed on deterring drivers from putting themselves in potentially life-threatening situations.

Wrong-way traffic accidents occur when a driver is either traveling the wrong way down a one-way street or driving on the wrong side of the road. Typically, these accidents occur when the driver is intoxicated, distracted or confused by a lack of signage or proper street markings.

Given the nature of the head-on vehicle direction at impact, these collisions are often fatal. With the severity of these crashes in mind, along with the number of wrong-way crashes increasing, new measures to alert wrong-way offenders have become an important component to our road safety systems.

The current wrong-way driving situation and available research

Wrong-way collisions on highways are rare, accounting for only 1% of crashes on California state highways. That being said, they are exceptionally dangerous and often times fatal, accounting for 3% of all fatal crashes in the US.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety compiled a research brief detailing wrong-way driving data taken from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Between 2010 and 2018, there were 2,921 fatal wrong-way crashes resulting in 3,885 deaths. Age and intoxication were two of the most notable factors, with drivers over 70 years of age and intoxicated drivers with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit being vastly overrepresented in the data.

Most wrong-way driving accidents happen at night, when visibility is low and intoxicated drivers are more likely to be on the roads. In situations such as this, improving visibility of signage and road markers is paramount.

Caltrans, which manages more than 50,000 miles of California’s highway and freeway lanes, evaluated the effectiveness of various traffic safety products, including LED illuminated signs and in-road LED systems. The evaluation showed that LED illuminated signs and in-road red LED lights were 62% effective in reducing reported wrong way drivers on ramps where the systems were placed.


LaneLight wrong-way LED systems are designed to alert drivers who may be experiencing tunnel vision, confusion or are intoxicated. Flashing red LED lights, both in-road and attached to signage, significantly reduce occurrences of wrong-way driving.

The LaneLight product line features multiple options that address wrong-way driving, including rectangular rapid flashing beaconsLED enhanced signsin-road LED lights and custom solutions. These products can be used either in tandem or placed individually at problemed areas such as freeway ramps, one-way roads or even parking lots.

LaneLight LED signs and in-road warning lights are approved under Caltran’s policy and guidance.

wrong way LED lights

Appropriate traffic safety systems can be the difference between life and death in a wrong-way driving scenario. Whether it’s in-road lighting, LED enhanced signs or rectangular rapid flashing beacons, any sort of enhancement to an area prone to wrong-way driving incidents has a substantial effect on the safety of drivers. Tackling the sources of distracted driving may be complex, but combating its effects through effective LED warning systems is a simple and worthwhile step to improving the safety of our roads.

Be sure to reach out to our dedicated team to discuss your specific needs!