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Why are highway accidents so dangerous?

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

interstate 12 Louisiana highway sign

Drivers in Covington, Louisiana may use the interstate highway system fairly frequently. Even if they’re not traveling very far, interstates are often the fastest and most efficient way to commute to work in the morning and back home again at night. I-12 runs east and west through Covington, and U.S. Route 190 runs north and south.

But there are some significant risks to using the interstate, which has a much higher speed limit than many surface streets. Oftentimes, these high speeds create the potential for very serious car accidents.

Why is speed so important?

Speed significantly impacts the severity of car accidents and increases the likelihood of a highway crash being fatal. Here’s why:

    1. Increased Impact Force: The force of impact in a collision rises exponentially with speed. When a vehicle is traveling at higher speeds, the force upon impact is greater. This force can lead to more severe damage to vehicles and an increased risk of injury to occupants.
    2. Reduced Reaction Time: Higher speeds reduce the driver’s reaction time. It takes longer for a driver to perceive a hazard, decide on a course of action and then execute that action when traveling at higher speeds.
    3. Limited Control: Control over the vehicle decreases as speed increases. It becomes more challenging to maneuver or stop a vehicle quickly at higher speeds, especially in emergency situations.
    4. Increased Severity of Injuries: Accidents at higher speeds often lead to more severe injuries or fatalities for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists involved in the crash. The increased force upon impact can cause catastrophic injuries.
    5. Impact on Safety Features: Safety features like seatbelts, airbags and crumple zones are less effective at higher speeds. They might not provide sufficient protection or mitigate injuries as effectively as they would in a lower-speed collision.
    6. Rollover Risk: Higher speeds increase the likelihood of a vehicle rollover during a crash, which significantly escalates the risk of fatal injuries.

To reduce the likelihood of a fatal highway accident, it’s crucial for drivers to adhere to speed limits, adjust their speed based on road conditions and drive at a safe and reasonable speed that allows for adequate control and reaction time. But these safe drivers could still be injured by other negligent drivers. Ultimately, it’s important to have an experienced legal team while considering potential damages, evidence regarding who was at fault and the steps necessary to seek proper compensation in the wake of a crash.