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Why do roadway departure accidents occur?

A 2013 Federal Highway Administration (FHA) report captured how roadway departures account for at least one-half of all highway fatalities in this country every year. They can occur when a motorist crosses the center or edge line into oncoming traffic or trees or a car rolls over. There are steps that transportation officials and motorists can take to reduce their risk of having these types of crashes, though.

Delineation, increased signage and the installation of high-friction surface treatments or rumble strips can all help motorists keep their vehicles within their travel lanes.

A widening of the gap between lanes traveling in opposing directions, a flattening of slopes, the installation of shoulders and removal of fixed objects can all result in more minor crashes when motorists travel into opposing traffic or run off the road.

The installation of traversable drainage grates, guardrails and breakaway supports can greatly reduce the severity of damage caused by roadway departure crashes as well.

Measures that have been taken to address reckless driving among motorists have helped curb roadway departure crashes as well. Distracted, impaired and speeding motorists all have difficulty navigating curves.

Drivers who are focused on something other than operating a vehicle tend to have the most difficulty in navigating horizontal curves, something which causes them to drift out of their lanes. Flashing lights near curves, rumble strips and targeted enforcement of problem behaviors, such as cellphone use or texting, have all resulted in reductions of fatal crashes.

Speeding results in the large majority of roadway departure crashes. Impaired motorists often have difficulty navigating any roadway, but have a particularly hard time driving around curves. Motorists who operate their vehicles without wearing seat belts are most vulnerable to getting hurt if their car does leave the roadway. Stepped up enforcement patrols can greatly curb crash rates and fatalities caused by all of these factors.

Roads in Lafayette, like many of Louisiana's other rural roads, are curvy. While many of us drive safely, there are many out there who don't. Police can't catch each and every reckless driver when motorists drive in an unsafe way. If you've been hurt in a crash, then a personal injury attorney may advise you of your right to recover compensation for your bills and expenses.

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Stephen Hawley Myers, LLC
Petroleum Tower
3639 Ambassador Caffery Parkway
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Lafayette, LA 70503

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