Driver behavior plays an important role in accident prevention, but road safety also relies on important signs and traffic regulations provided by state and local authorities. If you have been injured in an auto accident, an experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer can protect your legal right to be compensated for the injuries you have sustained.
Fatal South Florida Car Accidents Which Could Have Been Prevented With Signage
Florida has experienced no shortage of wrong way collisions in recent years. In one particularly brutal case, a young driver, twenty-one, Tweeted that she was "2 drunk 2 care" before entering the Sawgrass Expressway outside Coral Gables. She drove for seven miles in the wrong direction before crashing head-on with a Toyota Camry. The two occupants, both twenty-one and best friends, were killed. The Sun Sentinel reported that the driver's blood alcohol was .15, nearly twice the legal limit. She also had marijuana in her system at the time of the crash.
Yet another passenger was killed in a head-on wrong way collision on I-95 in Volusia County. Reports say that a pickup truck was driving the wrong way when it crashed into a Prius. The Prius' driver was injured, and the passenger was killed.
How Signage Can Help Prevent Wrong Way Accidents
Road markings and signs certainly cannot prevent all wrong way accidents. In the case of the driver who was "2 drunk 2 care," it is likely that the driver's impairment would have caused an accident regardless of the highway signs. Still, there is data to indicate that road markings can help.
A study by the Florida Department of Transportation in 2015 examined the causes of 280 wrong way accidents in Florida. Of these crashes, 45% involved drugs or alcohol. By contrast, 71% of the wrong way accidents occurred in dark conditions. While this by no means undermines the importance of sober driving, it does indicate that proper illumination and signs can help address the causes of wrong way accidents.
In response to the many wrong way accidents in Florida, state officials have introduced flashing beacons, solar-powered signs, cameras, and vehicle detection equipment on fifteen dangerous highways in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. The $400,000 pilot program has detected at least fourteen vehicles going in the wrong direction. None of these vehicles were involved in an accident.
Wrong way accidents may constitute only a portion of the fatal traffic accidents in Florida. But when they do happen, they are particularly violent. In order to keep the roads of West Palm Beach safe, all drivers must accept personal responsibility for being aware of their surroundings. Drivers should monitor highway markings and surrounding traffic to ensure that they are going the right way. When drivers notice a vehicle going the wrong way, they should slow down and allow as much space as possible between their vehicle and the vehicle travelling in the wrong direction. Use horn and lights to alert the wrong way driver, and also to make other nearby drivers aware of the situation.