Most people believe that larger roads and highways mean less car accidents. In fact, there have been many efforts in the United States to make our highways wider in hopes that it will minimize car wrecks, especially among large trucks and tractor trailers. However, there is strong evidence showing that wider lanes and roads actually make roads more dangerous as they cause more accidents.
Two economists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto spent long periods of time studying new roads built across the United States from 1980 to 2000 as well as the miles that motor vehicles drove in those areas during the same years. The results of their studies showed that when more roads are created or the capacity of the roads is increased, the amount of driving on the roads also goes up. Therefore, the next time you are stuck in traffic and thinking about how more vehicles could get around if the roads were bigger, you should keep in mind that more vehicles would just fill up those spaces if they were created. It is called induced demand, and this makes traffic congestion much worse.
At the Canadian Institute of Traffic Engineers conference, an author named Dewan Karim presented facts regarding the number of collisions that happened when wider lanes were formed. He referred to two different cities during his presentation, which were Tokyo and Toronto. These two cities were great comparisons because Toronto has wider lanes and Tokyo has narrow lanes. By looking at his research, he determined that collisions increased when lanes were stretched more than 10.5 feet, and the lanes that were over 12 feet had the greatest amount of crash rates. At the end of the presentation, he concluded with his findings that lanes should be between 10 and 10.5 feet to prevent collisions and higher amounts of speeding.
The World Resources Institute reported that Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Copenhagen are cities with the lowest car accident fatalities per 100,000 people. These three cities have lane widths that measure between 9.2 to 10.6 feet. The cities with the widest lanes such as Beijing, Fortaleza, and Chennai have the highest car accident fatalities.
Why do people think bigger roads are safer?
For many years, people have advocated for and considered making roads and lanes wider. The main reason for this is because they believe that bigger roads will give more space for vehicles and large trucks to move around as well as prevent sideswipes and other types of car accidents. However, increasing the size of roads has only led to more traffic congestion and speeding, which is known to increase the chances of wrecks.
When there are more narrow roads and lanes, drivers tend to drive slower, be more careful, and give their full focus to the roads and their surroundings. As a result, drivers have a better sense of awareness, which ultimately reduces the risks of car accidents occurring.
How does widening roads have an effect on cities?
You may think that widening roads may only cause trouble in suburban and rural areas. However, the Chicago Tribune reported that making roads bigger encourages more people to drive instead of taking the train, buses, or other forms of public transportation that is meant to reduce traffic in cities. More traffic, crashes, and pollution are the result of roadway expansion in the United States, and this has been a negative factor since the 1980s.
Ron Burke, an executive director for the Active Transportation Alliance, stated that “We have to rethink this decades long strategy of relying on cars to take us everywhere on wider and wider roads to bigger and bigger parking lots.” He finished his statement by adding that widening roads will not fix congestion, and it is certainly not the future for cities and urban areas. When the highways and interstates become too crowded, the traffic moves to local streets, putting pedestrians and bicyclists in danger.
What a Chattanooga car accident attorney can do for you
If you have been involved in a car accident and are not sure where to turn or what to do, our first piece of advice is to always seek medical attention even if you do not think you are hurt or injured. After you have been checked out by a doctor, make sure that you find an experienced Chattanooga car accident lawyer. Our lawyers at Wagner & Wagner are well-versed in the laws regarding car accidents and are always willing and prepared to take on new cases. If you choose our law firm, we will guide you through the lengthy legal process, ensuring that you understand every detail happening with your case.
Our car accident attorneys will also gather the evidence needed to successfully stand up for your rights. The types of evidence that we typically look for when it comes to car accident claims are police reports, medical records, witness statements, photos, and video footage. Once we have these, we will work tirelessly to build a strong case against the defendant. Most of the time car accidents are caused by an individual’s negligence, and we will ensure that the at-fault parties are held accountable for their negligent behavior that caused your accident and injuries.
Whether you are in the Chattanooga or Cleveland areas, or in North Georgia, Wagner & Wagner is here to help you with your car accident claim. Our team is educated, trained, and highly skilled when it comes to fighting for our clients and ensuring that they receive the proper compensation that they deserve. We believe in putting our clients’ needs first, and we will make sure that we handle all your legal matters while you continue to focus on healing. If you have experienced a recent car accident due to another person’s negligent behavior, call our office or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.