Thousands of automobile accidents happen on West Virginia’s roads every year. Lives are needlessly lost, and families have to find ways to pick up the pieces and move forward. There are ways, however, that we can improve the safety of our state’s roadways – at the individual and governmental levels. In order to become a better driver, however, you first have to understand why there are so many issues on the road to begin with.
Dangers on West Virginia’s Roads
From negligent drivers to poor road conditions, responsible drivers need to be vigilant while on the road. Intoxicated and distracted drivers top the list for causing a significant number of accidents in the state. When a driver isn’t able to fully concentrate on the road and their surroundings, an ordinary day for someone else can quickly turn into a traumatic incident.
Many of West Virginia’s roads are in desperate need of repair. Potholes, compromised bridges, uneven pavements, and inadequate signage can result in a wreck for even the most responsible driver. When a driver loses control of a vehicle because of road conditions, it can be difficult to regain power and continue forward without an accident.
In order to reduce the number of dangers on West Virginia’s roadways, drivers can take actions to operate their vehicles in a safer manner. Also, state and local governments have the power to improve the state of the roads and initiate programs to aid in the reduction of crash rates.
How Drivers Can Improve Safety on State Roads
While behind the wheel, driving safely should always be a top concern. Focus is key for drivers. Multitasking behind the wheel is dangerous. So drivers are not tempted by distracting notifications, cell phones should be put away. It’s also important to be aware of all traffic laws and abide by them at all times. Actions like speeding or tailgating can quickly lead to a crash. Building in time to stop for food, phone calls, and rest can help you arrive at your destination on time and keep your attention on the road.
In addition to focusing on the road, drivers need to know how and when to drive defensively. The idea is to be aware of what other drivers are doing around you and to expect the unexpected. Being prepared to avoid the actions of a negligent motorist is important. You should always keep a two-second gap between you and the car in front of you.
Reducing Accident Rates with Roadway Safety Initiatives
Even when you drive in a responsible manner, it’s not always possible to avoid a reckless driver. West Virginia partners with organizations to meet its safety goals. There are a number of safety initiatives in place in an attempt to reduce the number of irresponsible drivers and auto wrecks.
- Safe Communities. West Virginia is split into eight traffic safety programs in order to cover all 55 counties. The operations are located in Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, Clarksburg, Huntington, Parkersburg, Martinsburg, and Wheeling. The bases are designated as Safe Communities coordinators. They are responsible for developing and implementing counter-measures to reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
- Child Passenger Safety Program. This program focuses on providing educational materials, trainings, and supplies to certify instructors and technicians who can inform parents on installing car seats properly.
- Motorcycle Safety Program. In order to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents and increase awareness about motorcyclists, the Motorcycle Safety Program offers rider courses taught by certified professional instructors.
- Target Red. This is a campaign that’s dedicated to spreading awareness about the dangers of violating red light and stop sign laws.
- DUI Enforcement Programs. In order to reduce the number of drunk drivers, the state has a number of programs including Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, SADD, and Checkpoint Strikeforce.
Improving Road Conditions with Roads Building Programs
In order to improve the hazardous road conditions, Roads to Prosperity and Drive Forward WV are state programs designed to identify problem areas, put teams together, and fix the dangerous locations. The programs also benefit the state because they increase the number of jobs and boost the economy.
The initiatives came about when the Blue Ribbon Commission began discussing the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges. They created a funding plan to address the issues. The programs focused on the state’s crumbling highway infrastructure, critical highway safety issues, and the struggling economy. The Roads to Prosperity program turned into the Drive Forward initiative. There was an investment of $2.8 billion for transportation improvement.
With over 600 projects in 55 counties, the program will not only fix dilapidated roads and bridges but will also build new ones. The integrity of crumbling roads and bridges will be restored, and new transportation patterns will improve road safety by reducing congestion and confusion.
Even with drivers obeying traffic laws and the state takes responsibility for its roads, accidents will still happen. The lawyers at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC are ready to represent crash victims and hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. To learn more about your legal rights and options after a car accident, contact us today.