Traffic Issues in Tidewater - Maintain Your Car to Avoid Accidents

Kellam T. Parks
Managing Member of Parks Zeigler, PLLC

There are many things you cannot control while driving, such as road conditions, weather, and other drivers; however, you do have significant control over the functionality of your own vehicle. If you keep your vehicle it in top operating condition, the likelihood of breakdowns is significantly reduced.  For a look at some numbers, the Hampton Roads Transportation Operations Center (“HRTOC”) recently released their annual report for 2013. 

Last year, the Service Safety Patrol (“SSP”) responded to over 55,000 incidents, which included over 5,000 accidents and over 2,000 abandoned vehicles.  The majority of their responses (74% - over 41,000) of the SSP’s responses were due to disabled vehicles. The top three problems were easy fixes that mainly require maintenance of a vehicle. Running out of gas was the number one cause (5,909 instances), followed closely by tires needing to be replaced or re-inflated. Of all the things that can go wrong with your vehicle, running out of gas should not be one of them.  As to your tires, you should frequently examine them to ensure they are properly inflated and have plenty of tread. If a tire is low on air the bottom will look flattened. You can check the tread by placing a quarter upside down in between the tread. If the top of Washington’s head shows, you need a new tire. Debris on road is also a significant problem, with over 4,000 instances. Make sure your cargo is securely tied down and do not overload your vehicle! It’s better to make two or three trips than to lose something and cause an accident.

The HRTOC reports that the number one “hotspot” for disabled vehicles and accidents seems to be on the stretch of I-64 between the Northampton exit and the 64/264 interchange. At the eastbound 64/264 interchange, there are double white lines before the 264 exit which prohibit lane changing. All too often people ignore this rule of the road and wait until the last moment to move over, hoping to bypass the majority of traffic. This causes aggressive breaking from the cars they cut off, which not only interrupts the smooth flow of traffic, but also can lead to an accident. 

The average time it took the SSP to clear an incident was 24 minutes. While this may seem fairly quick, we’ve all experienced how any stop in traffic can mean several hours to resume its normal pace. This is especially true where the road narrows to only two lanes (like at our tunnels) or when traffic must stop completely in order to safely clear the scene. With Virginia’s average commute time being the sixth highest in the nation, we all need to do our part to improve these statistics and help ensure traffic keeps moving without incidents or accidents. 

If you, or someone you love, are involved in an accident that was not your fault and want to know your rights of recovery, please feel free to contact our office. We can assist you in recovering what you deserve from the insurance company.

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