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Why Are Interstate Accidents More Severe

Approximately 38,000 people are killed each year in the United States due to car accidents. Drivers stand a greater chance of getting severely hurt or killed in an accident if certain conditions are met. One of these is travelling on an interstate as opposed to a local road. There is a higher probability of both significant physical and property damage when an accident occurs on an interstate. There are many factors that contribute to this and they will be outlined below.

Driver Travel at Higher Speeds on Interstates

Higher speeds increase the chance for a more severe accident in several ways. Higher speeds will increase the chances that a vehicle will experience a rollover. Almost one in five accidents with fatalities in 2015 involved a rollover. Further, when vehicles are traveling at increased speeds, they have less time to brake when there is a car stopped in front of them. This leads to a pile-up effect in accidents on interstates. Unfortunately, there are numerous stories of multi-car accidents on interstates each year because cars could not avoid the incident in front of them. Finally, the laws of physics mean that impact when cars are travelling at higher speeds will have to be greater, meaning there is less of a chance that a driver can walk away from a crash on an interstate.

There are More Trucks on Interstates

Drivers have to share the road when they are traveling on interstates. Much of our nation’s economy depends on trucking, and the interstate system equally serves trucks. Unfortunately, trucks not only raise the probability of an accident, but they make collisions worse. What makes the interstate even more dangerous is that trucks often cannot see in their blind spots, posing a danger for drivers. They are also deadly when trucks stop in front of a driver and the motorist cannot brake in time to avoid the truck. Accidents with trucks have a much higher fatality and severe injury rate for obvious reasons. The bustling economy has also meant that there is a shortage of truck drivers available. This means that there are more inexperienced truck drivers who pose the risk for severe accidents. 

Interstates Have More Work Zones

Many severe accidents occur when there is construction on the road. Cars have to slow down and brake when they enter the work zone. In addition, the work zone will introduce various changes to the surface of the road and the direction that drivers may not be expecting. Additionally, work zones may have narrower lanes and more obstacles to make driving more challenging. There is often construction equipment on the side of the road that makes it even more challenging for drivers. What makes accidents in this scenario even worse is that drivers are often decelerating at the time of the accident. Also, when drivers must take steps to avoid road workers in the work zone, it means that they can swerve or lose control of their cars, making the severity of an accident even worse. 

Higher Distracted Driving on Interstate

Nearly ten percent of fatalities in car accidents involved a scenario when one driver was distracted behind the wheel. These accidents also tend to be worse because it means that a driver either loses control of their vehicle or rear ends the car in front of them. On an interstate, it means that a driver is traveling at high speeds when they are not watching where they are going. Drivers on interstates may feel, however incorrectly, that they have a greater opportunity to glance at their mobile device since they have a long stretch of road ahead of them. Motorists are more likely to be fully concentrating on local roads since they know that there will be frequent stops and other cars in close proximity to them. Statistics show that drivers take their eyes off the road for five seconds when they read or send a text which can lead to a severe accident. This makes interstates more dangerous since it happens more frequently on these roads. 

More Drowsy Drivers on Interstates

When drivers are on the interstates, they are more likely to be on long drives where they have a longer way to go to reach their destination.  They are more likely to be driving for several hours at a shot. Since interstates can go on for long stretches, drivers have a higher chance of nodding off behind the wheel. A higher proportion of fatal accidents occur overnight between 12 and 3 AM, and that is where drivers are more likely to be on the roads at that time of the morning, since they are driving overnight to reach their destination. Local roads have more variation that can stimulate a driver and keep them awake at night. In addition, there are more places for tired drivers to stop on local roads.  When drivers fall asleep behind the wheel, the accident will likely be worse since the driver cannot take any steps to minimize the accident or avoid the worst of it. Accidents where drivers fall asleep tend to be more severe. 

Lighting on the Interstate

Accidents where drivers exit the roadway tend to lead to worse consequences and a higher rate of severe injuries or fatalities. Not all highways are lit in every areas. Especially when highways leave the city and enter rural areas, there is often inadequate lighting on the highways. This causes drivers to lose sight of the roadway. This is even worse in the rain when there is lower visibility. As a result, motorists can either lose control of their vehicles or rear end cars that they cannot fully see. Combined with the higher rate of speed, this raises the chance that an accident will be severe. 

If you or a loved one has been injured on the roadway, an interstate accident attorney can tell you what your legal rights are and will help you file the necessary claim to be compensated for your injuries if you are eligible.

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