Atlanta’s infamous Perimeter is not just one of the busiest roadways in Atlanta; during rush hour, it is the second busiest highway in the U.S. But that’s not all — I-85 and I-75 intersect in the heart of downtown, and I-20 cuts right through it all.
Every year, drivers in Atlanta face increasing traffic, which means an increased risk for accidents. That, coupled with an aging infrastructure, can be a recipe for disaster for many of Atlanta’s commuters.
Let’s take a closer look at the busiest highways in Atlanta and the accidents that occur on them every day.
Traffic delays continue to increase in Atlanta, making it the tenth most congested city in the U.S. Atlanta highways continue to become more crowded every year, leading to more traffic delays and more accidents. Some of the causes of Atlanta traffic include:
- Increased population growth. Each of Metro Atlanta’s 11 counties had a population increase in 2022-2023, continuing the trend of growth every year since 1990. This increased population puts more cars on Atlanta highways every year.
- High population density. As the population continues to increase, the density increases, with more people within the same urban boundaries. This leads to more cars sharing the same existing roadways, increasing traffic.
- High freight traffic. Along with population and economic growth, Atlanta’s highways are home to a high and increasing number of trucks and freight vehicles. Container traffic in Savannah increased about 8% in 2022, and just 1.4% of that cargo is transported by train. As Georgia remains a critical hub for global shipping and transport, the highways of Atlanta are necessary to carry the resulting truck traffic.
These are just some of the reasons why Atlanta highways get busier every year, costing drivers more than 70 hours of wasted time annually.
High congestion and traffic causes car accidents in many different ways. Here are some of the things to consider:
- More cars in close proximity. It stands to reason that when there are many cars close together on a congested highway, they are more likely to impact each other, even when moving at slow speeds.
- Driver distraction. When people are stuck in traffic, they are more likely to be inattentive to the road. They may be paying attention to their phone, listening to music, engaging with other people in the car, or even reading the paper. Boredom can cause people to not pay attention to the cars around them.
- Less maneuvering space. When cars are close together in traffic, there is less room for a vehicle to maneuver in order to avoid an oncoming car. When there is more space on the road, a defensive driver may slow, swerve, or speed up to avoid an impact, but dense traffic makes these maneuvers impossible.
- Driver impatience. Heavy traffic makes some drivers impatient and makes them make more reckless driving decisions. Impatient drivers may pass on the shoulder, attempt aggressive lane changes, or do other reckless maneuvers to attempt to get out of traffic.
- Greater chances of multi-car crashes. In heavy traffic, one impact can lead to a chain of impacts, as multiple cars are forced into each other. A single incident can have much greater consequences.
Generally speaking, higher levels of traffic increase the number of accidents, although slower speeds reduce the rate of fatal accidents. It is important to remain alert and drive with care, even when traffic is moving slowly on a busy roadway.
Statistically, it is not only Atlanta’s highways and freeways that are full of traffic and congestion. Local roads like Moreland Avenue, Memorial Drive, and Roswell Road can also have a high volume of traffic, especially during rush hour.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, motor vehicle accidents were the second leading cause of hospitalizations, injuries, and deaths in 2019. The rate of fatal accidents increases every year, with 1797 traffic fatalities in 2021. There were nearly 30,000 reported traffic accidents in Atlanta in 2022, averaging out to just under 82 accidents per day.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact an Atlanta car accident attorney to learn more about your rights.
Atlanta’s aging transport infrastructure is struggling to keep pace with increases in population and demand for transport. Despite voter approval of the 2022 transport infrastructure package, MARTA recently scaled back expansion plans due to funding difficulties. Recent years have also highlighted the inadequacy of Atlanta’s current transport infrastructure for increasingly harsh weather events and the challenges of climate change.
The ARC comprehensive infrastructure plan allocates 59% of infrastructure funding to the maintenance of the existing transport system, with projects like resurfacing roads, repairing bridges, and replacing buses and rail cars. Further goals include:
- The improvement and expansion of MARTA
- Expanding the network of HOV lanes
- Deploying new technologies to monitor and improve transport systems
Outdated infrastructure contributes to traffic congestion, leads to more traffic accidents, and may increase the severity of traffic accidents when they occur. Deteriorating roads have potholes and uneven surfaces that pose a hazard for vehicles, especially during rain or harsh weather.
Modern, smart systems can leverage infrastructure improvements to reduce traffic accident frequency and severity. Improved lighting and signage, along with electronic roadway monitoring, signal communication, and incident management, can help improve congestion and reduce the likelihood of car accidents.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, discussing your case with an experienced car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and your options. The compassionate legal team at Fry | Goehring will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today or call (404) 969-1284 for your free consultation.