Driving safety tips and resources from the Arizona Department of Transportation at FocusOnDriving.com keep motorists prepared on Arizona’s roads.

Wrong-Way Drivers

'Drive Aware, Get There' safety campaign aims to minimize risk of wrong-way crashes

The “Drive Aware, Get There” safety campaign aims to help motorists minimize the risk of being in a crash with a wrong-way vehicle. The campaign details steps drivers can take that will keep them safer if they encounter a wrong-way vehicle, see an overhead message board warning of an oncoming wrong-way vehicle, as well as general safety tips.

Please view the PSA videos on this page or read the "Drive Aware, Get There" tips below:

  • If you’re on a divided highway – like I-17, SR 51, US 60 or any freeway in Phoenix and all interstates – and you see a vehicle coming toward you, slow down by easing your foot off the gas. Make sure there’s no vehicle next to you and steer away from the wrong-way driver. Get to a safe place, call 911 and report the wrong-way driver.
  • When ADOT is alerted to a possible wrong-way driver, overhead messages boards on that stretch of freeway will display a message that informs motorists a wrong-way vehicle has been reported. If you see that message, safely move toward the nearest highway exit as soon as possible. 
  • Because there’s a good chance the wrong-way driver is impaired, they can also be unpredictable. This is why it is important to always drive defensively. That means being constantly aware of driving conditions, your surroundings and anticipating dangers so you can take evasive action if you encounter a hazard, such as a wrong-way driver.  Don’t tailgate. Leave enough space so if the vehicle in front of you makes a sudden lane change to avoid a wrong-way driver, you’ll have time to react, too. Be aware of your surroundings. While wrong-way drivers are usually in the left or HOV lane, they enter highways from the right via off-ramps. And always wear a seat belt.
Two men putting up a Wrong Way sign

Learn more about the Wrong-Way Driver Safety Program.

ramp meter lights

An extended red means a wrong-way driver has been detected.

Drive Aware - Get There

Do you know what to do if you encounter a wrong-way driver?


Arizona highways safely move hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day. When crashes do occur, research shows that more than 90 percent of the time, the collision is the result of driver behavior – actions like speeding, reckless or distracted driving, or driving while impaired. Wrong-way crashes fit this pattern.

ADOT has taken extensive steps to address the threat of wrong-way drivers, including installation of a first-of-its-kind thermal camera detection system pilot project on I-17. Additionally, larger and lowered “Wrong Way” and “Do Not Enter” signs have been installed on hundreds of freeway ramps and overpasses in Phoenix and rural state highways.

These measures can reduce risk, but can’t prevent wrong-way driving. Two out of three wrong-way crashes are caused by impaired drivers and often these drivers have blood-alcohol levels more than twice the legal limit. This public safety issue will not be solved by only engineering and enforcement. We all need to work to keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel.

For more information about wrong-way drivers, visit azdot.gov/wrongway.