Washington, DC Beltway Auto Accidents
Washington, DC Car Accident Lawyers
For decades lawmakers have been calling for increased emphasis on the safety of the Washington, DC Capital Beltway, the Baltimore Beltway, and supporting highways in both Maryland and Virginia, and numerous efforts have been made to improve the safety of the roads, but they remain some of the more dangerous highways in America.
High volume, constant construction, complex structure, and a mixture of local, commercial, and long-distance commuter traffic make driving these highways a deadly danger that many people are forced to risk on a daily basis.
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in an accident on the Capital Beltway, the Baltimore Beltway, or supporting highways, including I-495, I-695, I-95, I-295, DC and Maryland 295, I-270, I-66, or the Springfield Interchange (the “Mixing Bowl”), the personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C. can help. Please contact us today for a free initial consultation.
HIGH VOLUME, HIGH RISK
Construction of the Capital Beltway began in 1955, although it did not take the name officially until Maryland and Virginia officials approved it in 1960. At the time construction began, its planners did not imagine the volume of traffic it would one day have to carry, and as a result the entire Capital Beltway system, its feeder highways, and connected major routes are all subject to high levels of congestion on a daily basis.
Congestion leads not only to delays, but also to frustration and car accidents. With the high level of traffic, simple one- or two-car accidents often become chain reactions and lead to many-car pileups.
CONSTRUCTION: SOLUTION AND CONTRIBUTING CAUSE
Because its designers originally imagined a more modest level of traffic, many sections of the road originally had only four lanes. To keep up with increasing traffic volumes there have been many major construction projects, mostly aimed at widening the roads.
The current plan is to increase the lanes in most sections up to twelve, but to accomplish this has required numerous roadway construction projects that may last up to a decade. In the short-term, these construction projects often contribute to congestion by narrowing existing roadways. They can also create a greater likelihood for accidents, since they change the normal pattern of merging.
Large trucks can be especially dangerous in construction zones. According to data released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about a quarter of all vehicle fatalities in construction zones are due to largetruck accidents. Construction zone traffic accidents involve a complex web of responsible parties. Our experienced truck accident lawyers know how to unravel the web and identify the best threads to weave into your case.
The dangers of driving on the Capital Beltway, Baltimore Beltway, and supporting roads are increased by the complicated nature of some of the exchanges. Complicated exchanges can force drivers to merge rapidly or move across several lanes of traffic to get where they want to be.
While additional lanes can help accommodate higher volume, these additional lanes can become additional hazards when attempting to negotiate a complex intersection like the Springfield Interchange, sometimes called the “Mixing Bowl,” in Virginia, once rated one of America’s deadliest interchanges.
Some intersections are poorly designed and unreasonably dangerous. We can help you determine whether an unsafe roadway contributed to your accident.
Complicated interchanges become even more dangerous when navigated by drivers unfamiliar with the area. Part of the danger of the Capital Beltway and Baltimore Beltway is that these roads carry a complex mixture of traffic. Traffic includes not only bored and potentially distracted commuters driving the same road day after day, but also through traffic carrying freight from major ports to destinations all up and down the East Coast. When you add to this tourist traffic and other visitors to the Washington, DC area, the combination becomes potentially deadly.
Whether your accident was in Washington, DC and involved a distracted driver, a freight truck, or a negligent tourist, the personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C. can help. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.