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Are surface roads safer than interstates?

Numerous factors influence how dangerous driving is for you. The speed of the other vehicles, the density of traffic and even the time of day influence how much risk you have.

When you consider how high the speed limits are on interstates and how much traffic there can be during the busiest times of day, you might immediately assume that traveling on surface roads would be inherently safer than reaching your destination on a higher-speed interstate. However, crash statistics don’t necessarily uphold that idea.

Surface roads are responsible for a high number of collisions

According to federal crash data, more than half of all collisions that result in injury or death take place at intersections. Since interstates generally do not cross one another or have opposing lanes of traffic, that means that more than half of all major collisions in the United States take place on surface streets.

Intersections involve many lanes of traffic sharing space. Small errors in judgment or communication could lead to a devastating collision involving two or more vehicles. Of course, avoiding intersections when you travel is likely no more realistic than avoiding interstates. Just like you can adjust your speed on the interstate depending on traffic and weather conditions, you can also adjust your habits at intersections to factor in the crash risk you have there as well.

Engaging in defensive driving techniques, like waiting an extra second before proceeding through an intersection, could help you reduce your chance of causing a motor vehicle collision. Knowing the risks and planning for them will make you a safer and more empowered driver.

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