Highway Accidents in Baltimore County
Car crashes are on the rise in Baltimore County. That statement likely did not come as a surprise if you have spent a lot of time combing Baltimore County’s roads recently.
Highways such as I-695 (Baltimore Beltway), I-83 (Jones Falls Expressway), and I-895 (Harbor Tunnel Thruway) undoubtedly contribute to the high number of crashes that occur in Baltimore County. Let’s not forget that I-95, Maryland’s most traveled interstate highway, also has its fair share of crashes.
Why are accidents so common on those highways? Heavy traffic certainly plays a role. On top of that, those highways also tend to attract erratic drivers. Remaining vigilant behind the wheel of your vehicle is a must while driving through Baltimore County’s highways. Otherwise, you may end up in an unfortunate car accident as well.
Thousands of Annual Accidents in Baltimore County
It is worth taking the time to grasp how dangerous roads in Baltimore County have become. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, there were 20,325 total crashes recorded in the state in 2021. Tally the five-year average of total crashes from 2017 to 2021, and the number comes out to 20,654.
Let’s break those numbers down further. Looking again at the five-year timeframe from 2017 to 2021, we see that 67 of those 20,654 crashes were fatal accidents. On average, 72 people died from car accidents across those five years.
The numbers do not get any better if we are looking at injuries; 6,771 people were injured in Baltimore County car accidents across that timeframe. Property damage crashes were frequent occurrences in Baltimore County as well. Interestingly, if you look at when these Baltimore County car crashes occur, you will see that they are most common around 5:00 p.m. Unsurprisingly, they will most likely occur during that time because people are rushing out of their offices. The highways become especially dangerous during that time of the day.
You should be keenly aware of these statistics if you regularly drive in and around Baltimore County. Being comfortable behind the wheel of your car is important, but you cannot afford to let your guard down, knowing an accident can happen at any moment.
High Speed Accidents on Busy Interstates
Speeding is among the leading causes of car crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was a factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2021.
The dangers of speeding cannot be overstated, but why exactly is it so dangerous?
First, you should never engage in speeding because it significantly reduces your reaction time. Even if you see another vehicle veer into your lane, you may not have enough time to hit the brakes. At that point, a collision is inevitable.
Traveling at a higher speed also means your vehicle will generate a greater impact if it crashes into something. A survivable collision could become deadly due to speeding.
We should also acknowledge the impact of speeding on the behavior of pedestrians and other motorists. Seeing someone speeding can be surprising, and it may render others unable to react. They may fail to get out of the way because they are terrified of your speeding vehicle.
Given how dangerous and irresponsible speeding is, you may have difficulty understanding why some drivers still engage in that behavior. The reasons detailed below will help shed more light on that matter.
Avoiding Heavy Traffic
Some motorists look at speeding as a necessary evil they must engage in if they want to avoid getting stuck in traffic. They look at the sea of red lights and decide they do not want to deal with all that. They would rather risk their life and the safety of others around them by speeding.
You will see drivers speeding in traffic whenever they get the chance. The moment the light turns green, you will see them speed ahead without much regard for nearby vehicles. They may even compound their irresponsible decision to speed by swerving in and out of lanes.
That desire to avoid traffic is understandable but is not a valid excuse for exhibiting such reckless behavior. Getting home a bit early is not worth endangering the lives of innocent people.
Attempting to Reach the Office on Time
Speeding is not reserved for the drive home. Many motorists also speed early in the morning because they are running late for work. Drivers who are okay with speeding to avoid being late may even run a few red lights along the way.
No one likes getting scolded for being late, but causing an accident is even worse. If you are running later than usual, speeding is not the answer. The responsible course of action involves calling your office and letting them know you are behind schedule. Do not endanger others simply because you woke up later than usual.
Exhibiting Arrogance on the Road
When you are on the road, it is always important to remember that you owe a duty of care to your fellow motorists. They drive responsibly to keep you safe, and you owe them the same courtesy.
Unfortunately, not all drivers see things that way. They think everyone on the highway should make room for them. They do not hesitate to speed because they have no regard for other drivers.
Other Baltimore County drivers may develop that sense of arrogance because they believe no one knows the highways better than they do. Regardless of how well you know a particular highway, that knowledge still does not give you the license to speed.
Be safe and considerate behind the wheel so all motorists using Baltimore County roads can safely reach their destinations.
Driving under the Influence
Lastly, we must recognize that speeding can also be a byproduct of driving under the influence. Once a person is intoxicated, they may not be fully aware of the actions they are engaging in. A speeding drunk driver may think they are driving at a perfectly reasonable pace.
Drunk drivers are terrifying precisely because they may exhibit dangerous behavior without knowing it. Their inability to grasp their predicament makes them unpredictable. Report a driver displaying this behavior to the authorities as soon as you spot them.
All types of car accidents have the potential to be deadly events when they take place on highways. However, sideswipe accidents pose an even greater threat.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a sideswipe accident occurs when two vehicles moving in the same direction collide from the side. The right side of one vehicle hits the left side of another car, and the accident follows that initial impact.
Sideswipe crashes can be devastating incidents no matter where they happen, but they are especially damaging on highways. The initial collision between the two vehicles may send them flying in different directions, potentially leading to pileups on multiple highway lanes. An accident like that could be enough to shut down a portion of a crowded highway like I-95.
Why are sideswipe accidents so common?
Often, these accidents happen when drivers merge from an entrance ramp. As the driver from the entrance ramp attempts to merge, they may misjudge the movement of the vehicles passing and accidentally hit one of them.
Speed is another contributing factor to sideswipe accidents. The driver trying to merge from that entrance ramp may not see an opening because the other motorists are going too fast. In response, they also enter from the ramp at high speed. That decision may cause them to strike another vehicle.
Sideswipe accidents are also dangerous because they cause drivers to react without thinking. Upon experiencing impact, a driver may veer to the side to prevent a crash. However, that maneuver may lead them straight into a barrier or another vehicle.
Be wary of sideswipe crashes while using highways, and keep yourself safe.
Dangerous Drivers on Baltimore County Highways
We have already mentioned some of the factors that cause highway accidents, such as speeding, heavy traffic, arrogant drivers, driving under the influence, and difficulty merging. Of course, there are still more causes of highway crashes that we have yet to discuss.
Let’s take this opportunity to discuss more of those causes so you can stay safe while using Baltimore County’s highways.
Driving is an activity that demands our undivided attention. Sadly, not all drivers treat it that way. Some drivers will use their devices constantly while traveling. They may try to answer text messages or use apps while driving, failing to see how dangerous those activities are.
Other drivers may be distracted by food. Some motorists may have breakfast on the road in a rush to reach the office on time. The dangers of distracted driving are real. If you cannot focus on the road, you need to pull over and finish what you are doing first.
The impact of fatigue on a person’s driving ability is not mentioned enough. According to the National Safety Council, drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident if they are tired. That revelation may be surprising, but it makes sense when you consider how fatigue can reduce your reaction time and make you more susceptible to nodding off.
Staying off highways is a good idea if you are feeling tired. Rest up and leave your long drive for the next day. You should also minimize late-night driving. The roads are typically populated by tired motorists around that time. It would be best to avoid sharing the road with them if possible.
Experience is an asset for drivers. When you know what to expect from your drive, you can prepare better and take measures to stay safe. Young drivers are more likely to be caught off guard by elements on the highway and their fellow motorists. They may not know how to react when a driver attempts to overtake them.
As a parent, you must take responsibility and teach your kid the fundamentals of safe driving before letting them drive. Those lessons could save your child from a potential disaster.
Poor Road Conditions
No list of highway hazards would be complete without mentioning the weather and road damage. Those are hazards that can significantly affect a person’s ability to drive.
Heavy rain and snow can create slippery roads that are difficult to navigate for even the most experienced drivers. Meanwhile, potholes can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. That is especially likely to happen if you hit a pothole at high speed.
Watch out for those road hazards when traversing Baltimore County’s highways.
Presence of Large Commercial Trucks Transporting Goods
Unless you live in Baltimore County, you may not realize how important the trucking industry is to the area. The trucking industry is one of the area’s major employers. Numerous trucks also move back and forth throughout the county due to its proximity to the Port of Baltimore.
While the strong presence of the trucking industry within Baltimore is certainly a plus, we cannot overlook its impact on the traffic situation within the county. Trucks show up on Baltimore highways throughout the day. They are especially prevalent at night.
If you have ever shared the road with a large truck, you know how tricky they are to deal with. Large trucks take up plenty of space and can block your views. You must also maintain a safe distance, or you may end up in their blind spots—the chances of you being involved in an accident spike if you stay in that dangerous position.
The large trucks are not disappearing from Baltimore County’s highways anytime soon. You will need to adjust by exercising more caution whenever you see them on the highway.
How a Knowledgeable Baltimore Auto Accident Attorney Can Help
Hiring a Baltimore car accident attorney such as John Leppler in the wake of your Baltimore County highway accident is a must. After securing the services of an attorney, they can uncover the facts of your accident, determine the party responsible, and negotiate with insurers. You and your attorney can also head to trial if the negotiations do not bear fruit.
Contact us at Leppler Injury Law if you need an expert auto accident attorney in Baltimore. Attorney John Leppler is always ready to answer your calls, so feel free to call anytime!