In our daily commutes, we breeze through city streets and highways without much thought. Yet, a closer look at road safety reveals subtle risks. A recent analysis by MoneyGeek compared fatal car accident data on state highways, local streets, U.S. highways, county roads, and interstates. They found that not all roads are created equal when it comes to accident risks.
In New Mexico, which is home to the "most feared" roadway in America (US-285), the importance of road safety cannot be overstated. Car accidents will always happen, but understanding the hazards inherent in different types of roadways can help drivers avoid danger.
Some roadways are more dangerous than others
While one of the U.S. highways running through the state may be the most feared, in New Mexico and most other states, state highways are the deadliest type of roadway, according to the study. These high-speed roadways, which are owned and maintained by the state, account for nearly 1 out of 3 fatal car accidents in New Mexico. Here's where fatal crashes happen in New Mexico by roadway type:
- State highways - 29 percent of fatal accidents in the state occur on state highways
- Local streets - 25 percent
- Interstate highways - 24 percent
- U.S. highways - 17 percent
- County roads - 5 percent
Inherent road risks
Every roadway will have its own unique set of circumstances. However, there are general characteristics that naturally increase crash risks.
- State highways. There are more entry points on state highways than other types of roadways. All this merging increases the potential for serious and fatal car accidents. If a driver is distracted, for example, they could be surprised by a car turning onto the highway and cause an accident.
- Local streets. Some careless drivers believe they can bend the traffic rules on local streets they know well. However, it's just this kind of lax attitude that can cause a deadly crash. Local streets are dangerous when drivers speed, run red lights, text and drive, and fail to yield the right of way.
- Interstate highways. Fast speeds, far distances, and large trucks increase the potential for driver error and fatal car accidents on interstate highways. To reduce the risk, the study advises drivers to use the left (fast) lane sparingly, reserve the right for slower drivers, and consider the middle lane for long distances to minimize lane switching.
New Mexico crashes, by county
According to state data, New Mexico communities that experience the most fatal crashes per year include:
- Bernalillo County - Albuquerque
- Santa Fe County - Edgewood, Tesuque, Santa Fe
- Valencia County - Belen, Bosque Farms, Los Lunas
- Torrance County - Moriarty, Mountainair
While some communities and roadways are more prone to crashes than others, a fatal accident can happen anywhere in New Mexico. If a close family member was killed in a New Mexico highway accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of support. The deceased's personal representative may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf.
Contact a car accident lawyer who knows New Mexico
At Szantho Law Firm, we can help you seek justice for your loved one. We investigate all types of traffic-related injuries and deaths. To find out how we can help you, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation. Our personal injury law firm has offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.