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Lesson Plan: Wrong-Way Driving 1

Outline Notes

I. Introduction

A. Instructor Introduction Instructor

B. Purpose and Motivator: To teach officers how to
handle a wrong-way driver on a controlled-access
highway, including entrance and exit ramps.

C. Performance Objectives: At the end of this 2.0 PPT Slide 2

hours of instruction, using class notes and the
instructors as resources, the students will be able

1. Define and discuss the scope of wrong-way

2. Identify when wrong-way incidents occur
3. Discuss the demographics of wrong-way drivers
4. Identify possible points of entry for wrong-way
5. Discuss current engineer efforts to combat
wrong-way driving
6. Discuss wrong-way driver apprehension
7. Complete wrong-way table top exercise

TRANSITION: Lets define wrong way driving.

II. Wrong-Way Driving

A. Definition PPT Slide 3

1. Vehicular movement along a travel lane in a PO #1

direction opposing the legal flow of traffic on
high-speed divided highways or access ramps.

2. In this course, consideration of wrong-way

travel is restricted to such controlled-access
highways, including entrance and exit ramps.

3. The information provided in this course does

not include wrong-way movements that result in
traffic collisions from median crossover

TRANSITION: Now that we have defined wrong-way

DPS 802-07247 (7-2007)

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Outline Notes
driving, lets discuss information on wrong-way crashes.
B. Information about Wrong-Way Crashes

1. Wrong-way collisions occur relatively PPT Slide 4

infrequently, accounting for only about three
percent of accidents on high-speed divided

2. The vast majority of wrong-way collisions on

controlled-access highways are head-on events.

3. On average, about 360 lives are lost each year

in about 260 fatal wrong-way collisions across
the United States. The number of fatal wrong-
way collisions has been essentially unchanged
for the last decade despite a decline in the total
number of fatal collisions.

4. In Arizona, the average number of lives lost to

wrong-way collisions is about 11.

5. Wrong-way collisions are much more likely to PPT Slide 5

result in fatal and serious injuries than other
types of highway accidents. A substantial body
of research, conducted primarily by state
departments of transportation over decades,
supports the fact that wrong-way collisions tend
to have higher fatality rates than other

a. A study in Virginia found the fatality rate

for wrong-way collisions on controlled
access highways to be 27 times that of other
types of accidents.

b. The California Department of

Transportation (Caltrans) found a fatality
rate 12 times greater than compared to all
other accidents on controlled-access

c. A study in Michigan found that 22 percent

of wrong-way collisions were fatal,
compared to 0.3 percent for all highway
accidents in the same time frame.

DPS 802-07247 (7-2007)

Lesson Plan: Wrong-Way Driving 3

Outline Notes
TRANSITION: Now lets discuss how common wrong-way
crashes are.

C. Prevalence of Wrong-Way Crashes PO #2

1. Approximately 78 percent of wrong-way PPT Slide 6

collisions occurred between 6:00 PM and 6:00
a. 12 percent occurred between 6:00 PM and
9:00 PM
b. 18 percent occurred between 9:00 PM and
c. 31 percent occurred between midnight and
3:00 AM
d. 17 percent occurred between 3:00 AM and
6:00 AM

2. Approximately 57 percent of the wrong-way

collisions occurred on the weekends.

a. 14 percent occurred on Fridays

b. 21 percent occurred on Saturdays
c. 22 percent occurred on Sundays

3. Most wrong-way collisions occur in the lane

closest to the median (number one lane).

TRANSITION: So who is most likely to become involved in a

wrong-way crash?

D. Wrong-Way Driver Demographics (NTSB report) PO #3

1. More than half, and possibly as many as three- PPT Slides 7-8
quarters, of wrong-way drivers are impaired by

2. More than half (59 percent) of those wrong-way

drivers with a reported BAC had a high BAC
at or above 0.15.

3. The majority of wrong-way drivers were PPT Slide 9

between the ages of 20 and 50.

4. There were fewer wrong-way drivers than

right-way drivers in every 10-year age category

DPS 802-07247 (7-2007)

Lesson Plan: Wrong-Way Driving 4

Outline Notes
below age 70.

5. In the age categories above 70, however, the

opposite was true. The number of wrong-way
drivers greatly exceeded the number of right-
way drivers.

6. There were almost 2 times more wrong-way

drivers for ages 70-79, and almost 30 times
more for ages above 80. PPT Slide 10

TRANSITION: Now lets talk about from where wrong-way

vehicles are most likely to originate.

E. Wrong-Way Vehicle Points of Origin PO #4

1. The primary origin of wrong-way movements PPT Slide 11

(when the origin can be determined) is entering
an exit ramp.

2. Other mechanisms resulting in wrong-way

movement include making a U-turn on the
mainline or using the emergency turnaround
through the median (recovery maneuver after
missing an exit ramp).

3. Some highway designs are more likely to be

problematic or to confuse drivers, resulting in
wrong-way movements.

a. Full diamond and partial cloverleaf designs PPT Slides 12-14

have entrance and exit ramps that meet the
crossroad at grade at a nearly perpendicular
b. Cloverleaf entrance and exit ramps have
shallow diverging angles.
c. State research concerning wrong-way
driving over the past four decades has
examined interchange design elements and
their implications for wrong-way movement
and made the following determinations:

1) Full four-quadrant cloverleaf ramps

have the lowest wrong-way entry rate.

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Lesson Plan: Wrong-Way Driving 5

Outline Notes
2) Left-hand exit ramps have the highest
wrong-way entry rate.
3) Partial interchanges have twice the
wrong-way entry rate of full
4) High rates of wrong-way entry occur at
incomplete interchanges and loop exit
ramps with crossroad terminals adjacent
to the entrance ramp.
5) Exit ramps that terminate at two-way
streets have high wrong-way entry rates.
6) Interchanges with short sight distances
at their decision points have a
disproportionate number of wrong-way
7) Wrong-way collisions occur more often
in urban areas than rural areas.

TRANSITION: Lets discuss what is being done to help

combat the issue of wrong-way drivers.

F. Engineering Efforts PPT Slide 15

PO #5
1. Lowering the height of Do Not Enter and PPT Slide 16
Wrong Way signs

2. Using oversized Do Not Enter and Wrong

Way signs

3. Mounting both Do Not Enter and Wrong

Way signs on the same post, paired on both
sides of the exit travel lane

4. Implementing a standard wrong-way sign

package with larger dimension signs and twice
the number of signs required by the MUTCD
(an early study of problematic exit ramps in
California found that additional signage and
delineation, plus lighting and minor ramp
geometric changes, reduced wrong-way entries
by 90 percent at identified problem exit ramps)

5. Illuminating Wrong Way signs that flash

when a wrong-way vehicle is detected

DPS 802-07247 (7-2007)

Lesson Plan: Wrong-Way Driving 6

Outline Notes
6. Installing a second set of Wrong Way signs on
the exit ramp farther upstream from the

7. Wrong-way detection systems that link to

Traffic Operations Centers and law
enforcement dispatch centers are currently
being studied

8. Smart cars with warning devices are currently

being designed by several auto manufacturers. PPT Slides 17-18

TRANSITION: Lets talk about how officers can apprehend

wrong-way drivers.

G. Wrong-Way Driver Apprehension PPT Slides 19

PO #6
1. Officer Considerations PPT Slide 20

a. Officers responding to a report of a wrong-

way vehicle on a multi-lane roadway should
avoid driving in the left lane where collisions
involving wrong-way vehicles frequently
b. Officers should not drive the wrong
direction on a controlled-access highway or
a one-way road.
c. Officers involved with wrong-way drivers
are required to use the level of force which is
reasonable and necessary to accomplish
their lawful objective.

2. Recommended Practices PPT Slides 21

a. Traffic breaks and roadblocks as defined in

G.O. 4.1.110, Roadblocks and Travel
b. The use of Arizona Department of
Transportation variable message boards to
warn oncoming traffic of the wrong-way

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Outline Notes
c. Paralleling the wrong-way vehicle with
emergency equipment activated to warn
oncoming traffic
d. Requesting air support PPT Slide 22
e. Pursuit intervention techniques as outlined
in G.O. 4.1.20, Pursuit Operations
1. Class C Roadblocks
2. Ramming
3. Tire Deflation Devices
4. Channelization
f. Use of force options, as outlined in G.O.
5.1.10, Use of Force, are authorized in
wrong-way vehicle situations
1. Most wrong way drivers are confused
because of alcohol/drug impairment or
advanced age.
2. A Class C roadblock, ramming, and
shooting of a vehicle would be authorized
only in situations where deadly physical
force is justified.

3. Assistance from other law enforcement agencies PPT Slide 23

a. Blocking on-ramps
b. Paralleling from the correct lane of traffic
c. Providing air support
d. Assisting with searches when vehicles leave
the highway
e. Officer should avoid requesting other law
enforcement agencies to perform traffic PPT Slide 24

TRANSITION: Now that we have given you some tools in

dealing with wrong-way drivers, lets split up into groups and
complete some scenarios regarding wrong-way drivers.

III. Wrong-Way Table Top Exercises PPT Slide 25

PO #7
(Every effort should be made to stop the wrong- PPT Slide 26
way vehicle with the tools presented earlier in the
class, such as the following: air support, traffic
breaks, paralleling from correct lane of travel,
variable message boards, tire deflation devices
and/or requesting assistance from other law

DPS 802-07247 (7-2007)

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Outline Notes
enforcement agencies.)

A. Wrong-Way Scenario #1 PPT Slide 27

1. It is 0130 hours on Sunday morning.

2. Phoenix OPCOMM reports a wrong-way driver
traveling northbound in the southbound lanes
of Interstate 17 at Thunderbird Road
3. Officers locations:

a. One Metro Central officer westbound on PPT Slide 28

SR101 at 7th Street PPT Slide 29 (Map)
b. One Metro West officer Code 7 at Dennys
at Deer Valley Road and Interstate 17
c. One Metro West officer eastbound on State
Route 101 at 67th Avenue
d. One Metro West officer southbound on
Interstate 17 at MP 234
e. One Metro Central officer with an Officer in
Training (OIT) on a traffic stop on
northbound Interstate 17 at Dunlap Road

B. Wrong-Way Scenario #2

1. It is 0300 hours on Saturday morning. PPT Slide 30

2. Phoenix OPCOMM advised of a wrong-way
driver, northbound in the southbound lanes on
State Route 51 at McDowell Road.
3. The closest unit responds from State Route 51
and Greenway Road.
4. OPCOMM continues updates advising the
vehicle is traveling in the H.O.V. lane, past
Indian School Road and then Bethany Home
5. Traffic is light and the first unit conducts a
traffic break to stop the few vehicles in the area.
6. The officer positions his patrol vehicle, with
emergency lights activated, and prepares to
deploy Stop Sticks.
7. As the wrong-way vehicle approaches, the
driver slows down, but drives around the patrol
vehicle, and the deployed Stop Sticks.
8. The wrong-way driver gets around you, and
continues northbound in the H.O.V. lane.
9. OPCOMM continues updates as the wrong-way
driver travels on State Route 51.

DPS 802-07247 (7-2007)

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Outline Notes
10. Officers locations:

a. Officer who deployed the Stop Sticks is PPT Slide 31

south of the wrong-way vehicle PPT Slide 32 (Map)
b. One Metro Central officer is eastbound on
State Route 101 at Cave Creek Road
c. One Metro Central officer is with a traffic
stop on northbound State Route 51 at
Cactus Road
d. One Metro Central officer is northbound on
Interstate 17 at Bell Road

C. Wrong-Way Scenario #3 PPT Slide 33

1. At 2300 hours, Flagstaff OPCOMM advises of a

wrong-way vehicle traveling northbound in the
southbound lanes of Interstate 17 at MP 262.
2. Officers locations:

a. District 12 officer responding from State PPT Slide 34

Route 69 at MP 264 PPT Slide 35 (Map)
b. District 12 officer responding from
Interstate 17 and MP 279

D. Wrong-Way Scenario #4 PPT Slide 36

1. At 0217 hours, Tucson OPCOMM advises of a

wrong-way vehicle traveling northbound in the
southbound lanes on Interstate 19 near
Irvington Road.
2. Officers locations:

a. One officer is southbound on Interstate 10 at PPT Slide 37

Grant Street PPT Slide 38 (Map)
b. One officer is northbound on Interstate 10
at Ajo Road
c. One officer is westbound on State Route 86
at MP 168

IV. Conclusion

A. Review Performance Objectives: At the end of this PPT Slide 39

2.0 hours of instruction, using class notes and the
instructors as resources, the students will be able

DPS 802-07247 (7-2007)

Lesson Plan: Wrong-Way Driving 10

Outline Notes
1. Define and discuss the scope of wrong-way
2. Identify when wrong-way incidents occur
3. Discuss the demographics of wrong-way drivers
4. Identify possible points of entry for wrong-way
5. Discuss current engineer efforts to combat
wrong-way driving
6. Discuss wrong-way driver apprehension
7. Complete wrong-way table top exercise

B. Questions? PPT Slide 40

DPS 802-07247 (7-2007)