“It all happened so fast” is often echoed as law enforcement officials investigate a multiple vehicle collision on one of Florida’s busy Interstate highways. You would think that driving along a well-maintained roadway like our state’s major expressways would easily be the safest way to travel. After all, each lane of traffic is supposedly going in the same direction, and for the most part, there are few obstacles or curves in the road. Nonetheless, Florida is home to several of the deadliest stretches of Interstate highways in the United States and multi-vehicle as well as large trucking accidents are reported every month in the Sunshine State.
Common Causes of Interstate Accidents
- Excess Speed – Long flat straight stretches of Interstate have a way of luring drivers into a false sense of speed. Plus, many drivers assume law enforcement will allow them 5 mph over the posted limit, and some routinely add another 5 mph for good measure.
- Driving at Night – Multiple hazards arise after sunset. Lengthy sections of darkness often become a mind-numbing light show as drivers approach a metro area. Moreover, driving under the influence increases after dark. Plus, you can add drowsy drivers to the list of nighttime demons.
- Adverse Weather Conditions – Although Florida is the Sunshine State, it still has its share of adverse weather with sudden changes in driving conditions, such as a heavy downpour or a low-lying section of dense fog that can quickly challenge a driver’s vision and skills behind the wheel.
- Reckless Driving – High-speed sections of the open road create the “perfect storm” for aggressive driving and the onset of road rage. In Florida’s metro areas, Interstates are often overcrowded as local drivers use the expressway for maneuvering around daily traffic patterns.
- Driving Impaired – Drinking and driving, driving under the influence of drugs, as well as driver fatigue, can lead to slower reaction times and collisions from drivers going the wrong way. Home to many retirement communities, seniors often continue to drive regardless of impairments.
- Distracted Driving – Florida’s major roadways can be long boring sections that mistakenly provide a perfect time to talk on the phone or respond to a text message. However, engaging in distractive tasks behind the wheel can quickly turn into a deadly high-speed accident.
How Is Traffic on the Interstate Right Now?
Living in an affluent nation means drivers are faced with more vehicles and more total vehicle miles traveled. If you drive a newer vehicle, there is a good chance you already use an online traffic map with accident reporting via an onboard GPS. If not, there are several free apps that include real-time incident reports, and changes in road conditions, and alert you to take an alternate route when a significant delay is detected. Whether you choose Google Maps or some other jewel found in the app store, these rely on millions of users who report Interstate accidents and traffic jams in real-time to make life easier for the rest of us.
Not only does Interstate traffic congestion affect travel time, it plays a significant role in automobile and trucking accidents, especially in congested areas. Sudden traffic slowdowns on major roadways are especially problematic in Florida, where freight movement by large tractor-trailer trucks is linked to a major portion of the state’s economy. Although traffic congestion is usually characterized by slower speeds, increased vehicular queueing can cause drivers to become frustrated making them more apt to engage in road rage or other forms of aggressive driving. Remember, Interstate accidents may be less frequent based on the number of miles traveled, but Interstate accidents can be life-changing.