A wrong-way collision left two vehicles destroyed and sent three adults to the hospital with serious injuries. According to the police, one of the vehicles was traveling in the wrong direction on the Capital Beltway’s Outer Loop on Sunday around 4:45 a.m. It collided with another vehicle, and both vehicles caught fire somehow. At least one of the victims had to be rescued from their car before being transferred to the hospital.

Investigators say that the road was shut down for at least two hours, and traffic was backed up for quite a distance, even at that hour of the morning, but the occupants of the vehicles were probably lucky to be alive. Typically, wrong-way crashes are among the most deadly, claiming more than 350 victims in the United States each year.

Efforts to curb wrong-way driving have largely failed. The authorities know that there tend to be some common denominators among wrong-way drivers. They are, for example, often intoxicated. However, some drivers end up mistaking an off-ramp for an on-ramp simply because they’re in an unfamiliar area, there are confusing road signs, the lighting conditions are poor and they’re tired or distracted.

One thing tends to be consistent: Wrong-way accidents are most likely to occur late at night or early in the morning. Should you ever see a wrong-way driver heading your direction on the road, flash your lights and get to the right as fast as possible. Once you are safe, call 911 immediately.

If you’re involved in a wrong-way accident, your injuries could leave you out of work for months. You will probably also have significant medical bills and other losses. Find out what it takes to obtain fair compensation for your losses.