(WTNH) – A wrong-way crash killed a Connecticut state representative early Thursday morning. According to state police, when the crash occurred is when most wrong-way crashes happen.
Connecticut State Police say most wrong-way crashes happen between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. While the crash that killed State Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams remains under investigation, most wrong-way crashes are from impaired or distracted driving.
The crash occurred on Route 9 in Cromwell around 1 a.m. It’s a stark reminder for drivers about the dangers of traveling the wrong way.
“It’s very dangerous because of the fact that sometimes at night, you can’t even see the signs,” said Peggy Baez from Waterbury.
According to the Connecticut Transportation Institute at UConn, wrong-way drivers caused 23 deadly crashes in 2021, which was the most in the state in the last five years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there were more than 2,000 fatal wrong-way crashes between 2015 and 2018, which is a 34% spike compared to the previous four years.
AAA spokesperson Fran Mayko says most incidents happen in the left lane.
“Wrong-way drivers tend to drive closest to the median divider,” Mayko said. “In their mind, they believe they’re hugging the shoulder of the road.”
Mayko suggests staying as far to the right as you can.
“Pull over, put on your hazard lights, call 911,” Mayko said.
Sergeant Christine Jeltema with CSP says if you are out driving at night, be mindful of your surroundings.
“Staying off your phones, paying attention to what’s going on, and if you’re going to go out and partake in any alcohol and/or drugs, to utilize rideshare programs, a designated driver, somebody that will be able to get you home safely,” Jeltema said.
Jeltema says of the 23 deadly wrong-way crashes in Connecticut last year, only about four investigations are complete, all of which were alcohol-related. She says it typically takes 8 or 9 months for investigators to gather all the information.
The state is investing $20 million in improvements to reduce wrong-way crashes. The DOT says they’ve installed flashing warning signals at nine ramp locations, stated installation at seven additional locations and they’ve identified 50 other spots for installation in 2023.