New Jersey Highway Safety
October 01, 2019
The nonprofit group, Reason Foundation, released their annual highway report, and for the second year in a row, it named New Jersey’s roads the worst in the country. New Jersey spends more money per mile on its highways than any other state to address poor road conditions, maintenance costs, and transportation projects. It breaks down to half a million dollars for each state-controlled lane mile.
A Republican Assemblyman commented that New Jersey pays twice as much to improve their highways than the next closest state. It is likely that New Jersey roads will not see significant improvements soon, so for the time being, motorists will have to continue to focus on safe driving.
How Poor Road Conditions Cause Accidents
Although most car accidents are the result of driver negligence, road conditions can also be a contributing factor, including:
- Potholes and sinkholes
- Broken concrete
- Uneven surfaces
- Faulty design
These conditions can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, swerve into other lanes, and lead to rollovers, crashes, and tire blowouts.
Safe Driving Through Planning
All new drivers are taught driving basics, but many do not follow the laws and guidelines. Before turning on the ignition, drivers should fasten their seat belts; an average of 131 unrestrained drivers and passengers in New Jersey lose their lives every year. It is also important to plan for avoiding distractions, and this is done by turning off cell phones or placing them on Do Not Disturb. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that one text while driving can take the driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds. If done while driving 55 mph, it is similar to driving the length of a football field blindfolded. Other ways to plan for safe driving include keeping vehicles well-maintained and planning out all routes before leaving the house.
Avoiding Aggressive Driving
According to Bureau of Transportation Statistics, speeding is the number one driver-related cause of fatal crashes. Speed limits should be obeyed, and drivers should slow down if poor road conditions exist. Tailgating should be avoided; the NHTSA recommends a three-second gap, at the minimum, between vehicles.
Changing lanes and merging should also be done thoughtfully. When lane changes are needed, drivers should use signals and check mirrors and blind spots. The left lane should be used for passing only, since remaining there can create hazards. When merging, motorists should check for other drivers and accelerate to the proper speed before merging.
Other Drivers and Vehicles
Erratic and aggressive drivers are everywhere, and the safest rule is to stay away. Swerving, tailgating, and inconsistent or high speeds are hallmarks of dangerous driving. Large trucks should also be given extra room, especially when merging or passing. Drivers should ensure that truckers see them, since they have large blind spots. Using blinkers and proceeding cautiously is the way to go. If there is a stopped vehicle on the road or shoulder, it is also best to keep as far away as possible.
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