Following behind I-80 and I-90, I-40 is one of the longest interstate highways that runs through the United State, passing through Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Guess what else the highway is known for? Being one of the deadliest highways in nearly every state it touches.
How has I-40 earned the reputation of being one of the most dangerous roads in America? One of the possible reasons why I-40 is dangerous is because it is one of the most traveled roads in the country. Just in Tennessee alone, the road runs for 455 miles. Unfortunately, many accidents have happened within this 455-mile stretch. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that traffic fatalities in Memphis increased by 50% in 2020. Most of the fatal traffic accidents in Memphis happened on I-40.
What makes I-40 such a dangerous highway?
- Traffic congestion. Another possible reason why I-40 is so dangerous is because of the sheer number of drivers. Traveling I-40 can take you through Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis. At any point, there could be half of a million drivers driving the road at the same time.
- Another reason why I-40 is a dangerous highway is because of the amount of excessive speeding. One of the leading causes of traffic accidents in the United States is speeding. Speeding reduces the driver’s ability to react quickly to the changing circumstances on the roads. Even an increase of five miles an hour can significantly reduce a driver’s ability to stop at a safe distance.
- Traffic congestion is another reason that makes I-40 a dangerous road. One of the busiest times where traffic congestion is at capacity is during the summertime when families are taking road trips and vacations. The time of day in which the drivers are more present on the roads also factors into traffic congestion. For example, there are more drivers on the highways during the day than at night.
- Road conditions. Sections of I-40 contain multiple hills and windy roads. Drivers who cannot adjust to these conditions are at risk of becoming involved in a car accident. In addition to the twists and turns of the highway, drivers must stay alert for any deer or wildlife that can run out at any moment.
- Distracted driving. Because I-40 passes through so many states, it is common for drivers to become distracted. Distracted driving happens when any type of activity takes a driver’s focus away from the road. There are several types of distractions, from cell phones to the passengers traveling with you. Any distraction is dangerous and can cause a serious traffic accident to happen in a matter of seconds.
Staying safe on I-40 during the summer
Even though I-40 is one of the most dangerous roads in America, there are actions that you can take to keep yourself and your family safe during the summer.
- Inspect your vehicle before driving. Before taking any road trip, make sure that all the equipment in your vehicle is in the best condition. You do not want to be in a position where you have to pull over on the shoulder and risk getting hit by a speeding driver. Make sure that your headlights, tires, brakes, and steering wheel work efficiently.
- Put your cell phone away. Before you begin your trip, place your cell phone in a place where you cannot easily access it while you are driving. This will help eliminate a majority of the distractions you will face on the road. If you are traveling with passengers on your trip, they can monitor your cell phone and assist with any adjustments that need to be made.
- Avoid tailgating. Even if drivers on I-40 are speeding beside and behind you, you do not want to follow suit. Tailgating behind another vehicle is the quickest way to cause a rear-end collision. If possible, switch to the nearest lane with the slower vehicles to avoid a collision with other vehicles.
- Take extra precautions in bad weather. If you happen to be driving while it is raining, make sure to increase your following distances and reduce your speed. Continuing to speed while the roads are wet can increase the chances of a traffic accident. If the rain begins to pour and visibility is severely reduced, pull over to the shoulder as safely as possible.
- Do not speed. Speeding does not make a difference in the time it takes to reach your destination. If you need to reach a destination at a certain time, either leave early or accept the fact that you will be late. Do not increase your speed past the recommended speed limit.
When you and your family have been seriously hurt in a car accident, our injury lawyers can help you in your time of need. We represent the injured clients of Memphis and Jackson with care, compassion, and capability. Call our office today at 901-475-7434, or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
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