Florida drivers, beware: by many accounts, the Florida portion of I-95 is the most dangerous highway in the United States.
Interstate 95 runs through 15 states on the Eastern coast, but the Florida stretch between Jacksonville and Miami is the most dangerous roadway in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This portion of highway is the site of an unusually high number of auto accidents.
Between April 2014 and April 2015, a whopping 1,713 accidents were reported, with 573 involving injuries. Of these accidents, 18 were fatal, claiming 25 lives altogether. Altogether, the roadway has seen nearly two deaths for every mile of highway between the two major Florida cities.
What Makes I-95 So Dangerous?
Local highway patrol officers point to speeding and distracted driving as the main reasons for the roadway’s unique danger. In an interview with local Jacksonville news outfit News4Jax, an officer stated she often sees drivers texting and talking on the phone constantly, and ignoring road conditions, signs, and construction up ahead. But distracted driving is a common problem on any stretch of highway in the United States. That alone doesn’t explain the striking number of accidents on the Florida stretch of I-95.
Accounts from frequent commuters in Florida cite a number of reasons for the dangerous driving conditions, such as bad weather, aggressive driving, and heavy traffic. Commuters also point to poor design and maintenance of the roadway and the constant presence of construction work as dangerous elements on I-95.
If you are planning to drive this stretch of road, practicing safe driving can mean the difference between life and death for you and your passengers. Below we have provided a list of highway safety guidelines to aid commuters in a safe arrival to their destinations.
Practicing Safe Highway Driving
Maintain a Safe Speed. Cautioning against high speeds may seem obvious, but speeding continues to be one of the leading causes of death on American highways. Always follow posted speed limits, and adjust your speed for dangerous driving conditions, especially during poor weather and heavy traffic. On roads like I-95, frequent hazards like construction and potholes are more easily avoided at a reasonable speed.
Follow at a Safe Distance. Tailgating is more than just rude – following the driver in front of you too closely is an easy way to get into an accident. And if a motorcyclist is in front of you, give them extra room. Motorcycles stop much faster than heavier cars, and an accident that would likely be a fender bender between two cars may be a fatal crash for a biker. Roads slick from rain, snow, and ice also are signals to increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
Look Far Ahead. Many accidents occur because the driver failed to notice hazards on the road ahead. Your natural instinct may be to focus only one car ahead of you, but looking far ahead while driving helps you “read the road” and anticipate these hazards. Taking in the entire road ahead of you also makes it easier to maintain speed without needing to slam on the brakes.
Keep Track of Surrounding Vehicles. It’s also important to be aware of the cars around you in addition to the roadway.
Check all your mirrors frequently, and remember to perform quick checks of your blind spot when changing lanes. Does the driver next to you seem distracted? Does the car behind you keep disappearing into your blind spot? Does the vehicle in front of you seem prone to braking abruptly? Being aware of the drivers around you helps prevent unwelcome surprises.
Stay Alert and Awake. As the state trooper mentioned, distracted driving is an increasing problem in recent years. The rising number of cell phone-related accidents has led to many public service ad campaigns and highway signs detailing the dangers of texting and driving – and stricter laws to punish drivers who do so. When driving a car, the sole focus of your attention should be the road ahead of you. If you feel you are unable to ignore your phone, place it somewhere in the car where you can’t reach it while driving.
It is also important to only drive when you feel mentally and physically capable. If you become drowsy and begin to weave, these are strong signs that you should be in bed – not on the road.
Fighting I-95 Auto Accident Injuries
Unfortuately, auto accidents can happen to anyone, even the safest drivers. If you have been involved in accident due to the negligence of another driver or road conditions that are the responsibility of the state, the legal team at Lawlor, White, & Murphey would like to hear from you.
We may not be able to be able to undo the damage that’s been done, but we can help you fight back. We make it our goal to secure our clients the financial compensation they require for medical bills related to injuries – and to hold the guilty parties responsible for their actions so that others won’t suffer your fate.
About the Author:
John K. Lawlor, a South Florida personal injury attorney who focuses his practice on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice, founded the law firm of Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.