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Preventing fatal roadway departure accidents

When you’re behind the wheel of your vehicle, do you watch for other drivers’ dangerous behaviors? You probably do if you’re like most people. What you may not think of as often is the threat of single-vehicle accidents such as driving off the roadway.

The commonality of these accidents may surprise you. Fatal roadway departure accidents increased from 761 such accidents in 2015 to 849 in 2016. Driving off the roadway is dangerous because barriers and medians are in place to protect you from natural hazards like water or rocks, as well as other things like oncoming traffic.

Understanding the causes

Why do these accidents happen? A 2009 nationwide study of roadway departure crashes revealed many factors in these fatal crashes. Some of these contributors include:

  • Speeding: Research shows that drivers that sped were more likely to be involved in a roadway departure accident than non-speeders. Likewise, roadways with high speed limits were more likely to become the scene of a roadway departure accident than lower speed limit areas.
  • Road type: Certain road types were more likely scenes of roadway departure accidents than others. Rural roads, roads with fewer lanes, and curved roads were more likely to become the scene of a roadway departure than their counterparts.
  • Time of day: Roughly 75 percent of nighttime vehicle accidents were roadway departure accidents while approximately two-thirds of daytime accidents were involved at least one vehicle leaving the roadway.

Keep your eyes on the road

The good news that despite the concerning nature of this information is that there are steps you can take to prevent experiencing a roadway departure accident. Remember that your priority behind the wheel is driving and that means limiting distractions from your cell phone, radio and your passengers. Be sure to also keep your speed to the posted limit, especially on unfamiliar or curved roads and at night.

By exercising greater caution, you can help reduce the number of fatal roadway departure accidents in Georgia. Let’s work to reverse the increasing trend of accidents

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