When we talk about kamikaze drivers, we are thinking of a driver that travels in the opposite direction, usually on one-way roads (highway or freeway) since when they occur on conventional roads where both directions are on the same road, it is difficult to determine if It was a kamikaze driver or an involuntary lane change.
Colloquially we call them kamikazes, but we should change the name of this type of drivers.
The word kamikaze comes from World War II when Japanese pilots crashed their planes into enemy ships. These pilots were at war and fought for ideals, they had a justification. In traffic, few kamikazes intend to commit suicide.
The DGT (Department of Traffic) calls these drivers WWD (Wrong Way Driving).
We can distinguish several types of kamikaze drivers:
By mistake.- These are the majority of cases. They are usually due to absent-mindedness, poor visibility or misinterpretation of signalling.
For excess alcohol or drugs.- They provoke a lack of inhibition and aggressive, competitive and violent behaviours
A bet or dare, usually mixed with drugs or alcohol.
The suicidal. This is the least usual case. In this case the person does not mind also ending the lives of other people as happened recently with the pilot who crashed the plane full of passengers.
It should be noted that in recent years there has been a considerable increase in these cases.
In cases of alcohol, drugs and reckless driving, prevention involves more road safety education and greater rigorous enforcement of the Penal Code.
In the case of absent-mindedness, there are two aspects, for the drivers and for the person responsible for the road.
In many cases they are elderly people. Here it is necessary to have strict periodical medical examinations that will allow the detection of drivers with an attention deficit.
With respect to the road, it would try to detect the points of conflict and solve them.
In some European countries, there are specific informative signs that are put up along the exits of highways and freeways to prevent absent-minded drivers to enter them.
Here, technology would be of great help. The driver would pass through detectors along the entrance to the freeways that would alert the driver, traffic control centres and the Civil Guard; and on the other hand a detector inside the vehicle that warns the driver that he/she is driving in the opposite direction.
To begin there would be a penalty for driving in the opposite direction of the flow of traffic, which would be a fine of 500 euros and taking 6 points from the license.
In extreme cases, if the life of a person has been endangered, the Penal Code imposes penalties of imprisonment of up to 5 years and suspension of the license for up to 10 years.
WHAT CAN WE DO WHEN WE COME ACROSS A DRIVER THAT IS DRIVING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF TRAFFIC?
If a driver is seen driving in the opposite direction, it is best to make him/her seen because in most cases they do not intend to crash into other vehicles. It is best to turn on your lights. If it’s night-time, do not use your brights so that you avoid blinding the driver.
Do not brake suddenly in order to avoid other drivers behind from to hitting us.
If the vehicle approaches us, turn to the right, as their tendency will be to drive to our left because when it is due to a mistake they think that they are driving along a one-lane road going each direction.
Once the danger has passed, immediately notify the Civil Guard or Police.
IF WE REALIZE WE ARE DRIVING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION BY MISTAKE
If it is on a freeway or highway, do not try to turn around without help.
It is best to stop immediately, make yourself seen with all possible lights and leave the vehicle, with a vest on, and move away from the road and the shoulder.
Call the Police or Civil Guard