Why driving in congested traffic can be dangerous

Florida auto accident attorney

For metro-area residents, traffic congestion is an expected part of their daily commute. For others, it can come as a bit of a shock, especially in areas where it's uncommon.

According to an article in the Orlando Business Journal, Orlando commuters spend about 57 hours each year in traffic. The increase in traffic congestion in Orlando is just part of a larger problem, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute's recent mobility report. An overall improvement in the economy may be the driving factor.

A study conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institute ranked Orlando No. 30 out of 101 metro areas in the U.S. for traffic congestion in 2017.

What are the dangers of traffic congestion?

For most people, traffic congestion is nothing more than a nuisance. Distracted and reckless driving can pose big risks when traffic conditions start getting tight, however.

Here are the three primary reasons why traffic congestion can be dangerous:

  • Rear-end collisions are likely: Stop-and-go driving can be a recipe for disaster. When drivers take their eyes off the road for even a couple of seconds, they could easily collide into cars in front of them. In addition, rear-end collisions can occur when drivers fail to slow down or stop when the flow of traffic comes to a halt. Whiplash and other spinal injuries are common in rear-end collisions.
  • Road-rage and aggressive driving can increase: When drivers are in a hurry, traffic congestion can be frustrating. Some drivers take their frustration to the extreme. Aggressive driving in conditions of traffic congestion can manifest itself through weaving through traffic, tailgating, and pulling other risky maneuvers. This can easily lead to road rage incidents, which often involve violence or drivers purposely crashing into another vehicle.
  • Blind spots and lane-departure crashes: During traffic congestion, it's common for drivers to change lanes when they think they are in the clear to do so. When drivers fail to first check their blind spots, however, they run the risk of sideswiping other vehicles and causing lane-departure crashes.

What causes traffic congestion?

Traffic congestion doesn't only happen in large metropolitan areas. It can happen anywhere for the following reasons:

  • Construction — Traffic often backs up around construction zones, as drivers are required to merge lanes. In most cases, drivers are given advanced notice to slow down in a work zone.
  • Roadway crashes — When crashes happen unexpectedly, traffic can come to a sudden halt — leaving many drivers little time to react.
  • Weather conditions — Rain, snow, fog, and extreme wind can slow down the flow of traffic.
  • Poor roadway infrastructure — Bottlenecks (where multiple lanes merge into one) account for about 40 percent of traffic congestion.
  • Road defects — Road debris, potholes, broken down cars, and downed trees can disrupt the flow of traffic.

If you were involved in a crash due to someone else's reckless behavior or careless error, you likely sustained injuries. Those injuries could require medical treatment and time away from work. To avoid having to pay out of your own pocket, it's important you understand your legal rights and take action.

An experienced Seminole County car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Scott M. Miller, PLLC can help you through the process. To learn how we can help you, contact us online and schedule your free consultation today.