After several recent incidents, including a crash on I-89 that left several people injured, Vermont State Police are raising awareness about impaired driving.

According to the Vermont State Police, there have been 43 reported cases of impaired driving in Vermont this year, though Trooper Christopher Hein acknowledged that number does not include drivers who have recovered without causing much of a scene.

The number of 43 is already more than in any year in the past six, VSP said, except for one. There were 49 reported incidents in 2019, Hine said at a news conference Tuesday at the Georgia State Recreation Area on North 89.

“The potential for a catastrophic outcome is high, especially if the driver is speeding down the highway in the wrong direction for a long distance,” Hein noted.

Hein told reporters that drugs and alcohol are to blame in about 40 percent of cases. Cognitive impairment, as in some elderly people, is another important factor, the trooper added.

Hine said if you encounter a wrong-way driver, you should pull over to the right as far as possible and stop if possible to reduce your speed in case of a collision, then call 911.

Hein stressed that people should also buckle up and use child seats properly.

Since 2016, three out of 16 wrong-way crashes in Vermont have resulted in a fatality, Hine said.

Officials with the Vermont State Transportation Agency point to wrong-way signs on highway ramps and soon upstream, as well as road markings, as ways to improve safety. The agency’s Mandy White said the state is always looking at new messaging approaches and will work with other states to learn what has been successful elsewhere.

“Slow down, look around, watch your surroundings and make sure you’re in the right place at the right time,” White advised all drivers.

Adam Silverman, a civilian spokesman for the Vermont State Police, spoke about his personal experience Tuesday with a wrong-way driver this summer. Off duty, Silverman said he and his wife were on their way to lunch when they encountered a driver heading toward them on Route 189 in South Burlington.

“It was just a surreal experience,” Silverman recalled in an interview with NECN & NBC10 Boston following the press conference. “Everyone else on the highway behind me – there was an incredible risk that someone could be killed at any second.”

Silverman said the frightening encounter happened before he heard any advice from the military about what to do in such a situation. However, he said his instincts led him to pull to the right and slow down dramatically before calling 911.

“I was very relieved to learn later that there was no accident, no one was hurt and no one was killed,” Silverman said.

Silverman told NECN & NBC10 Boston that he hopes his story will serve as a reason for others to learn to slow down again and move to the right when trouble is going the wrong way.