According to a recent study by Teletrac, Orlando’s Interstate 4 is the deadliest highway in the nation. The study says the stretch between Tampa and Daytona Beach, which is about 130 miles long, averages approximately one death per mile. The interstate had more than 150 traffic fatalities between 2016 and 2019. The study also named Orlando the deadliest city along I-4 for drivers. Furthermore, March was the most common month for accidents, with side-impact collisions and roll-over accidents being the two most frequent auto incidents.
What’s unfortunate is that thousands of residents and tourists rely on the interstate every day, so why is such a vital road so dangerous? You might also be wondering what the most hazardous sections on I-4 are or how you can keep yourself safe driving on Florida’s roads, highways, and interstates.
If you have been in a car accident in Orlando, contact an auto accident attorney. They can launch a thorough investigation into the incident, help establish fault, and recover damages for your accident-related expenses.
Why Is I-4 So Dangerous?
Since Interstate 4 first opened in the 1950s, it has seen continuous reconstruction and lane-widening projects to accommodate the state’s booming population and tourism industry. The constant construction and lane blockings contribute to the number of accidents. Additionally, high tourist areas, such as Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Sea World, Daytona Beach, and Tampa, have more out-of-state drivers who may not be familiar with our roads, thus increasing the likelihood of a car accident.
While constant construction and tourists both make I-4 dangerous, one other leading reason for the road being hazardous is congestion. There are too many vehicles traveling along I-4, regardless of construction or location along the interstate. As the main highway for Central Florida, cars are constantly traveling on the road. Even a minor fender bender can turn into a vast pileup. For example, thick fog and smoke from an environmental burn caused a 70-car pileup near Polk City in 2008. The accident killed four people and injured 38.
What Are the Most Dangerous Sections of I-4?
The Teletrac study on I-4 labeled the most dangerous areas near Tampa, Plant City, and the stretch between Lakeland and Walt Disney World. Most accidents happen around rush hour times of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tampa, in particular, seems to be the most hazardous, especially near the Florida State Fairgrounds and the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. This is for two reasons: lane reduction from four to three and irregular off-ramp shifting from the right lane to the left lane.
How to Stay Safe on Florida Highways and Interstates
It does not matter if you have held a driver’s license for decades or just obtained it this year; knowing how to keep yourself and passengers safe is crucial. Here are some safety recommendations to keep in mind as you drive on I-4 and other Florida highways and interstates:
- Stay alert: Pay attention to both the road and your surroundings, such as construction zones, other drivers, road conditions, and weather conditions.
- Avoid tailgating: Unexpected stops frequently happen along I-4, so allow for at least a full car’s length between you and the vehicle in front of you. Florida is known for its severe storms, so leave extra room in dangerous weather conditions.
- Reduce distractions: Never use a cell phone when behind the wheel. Not only is texting and driving illegal in Florida, but it also reduces your ability to react to other vehicles.
- Follow speed limits: Obey the posted speed limits on the highway. Speeding increases the amount of time you need to come to a safe stop. With so many stop-and-go sections on I-4, it may be hard to avoid a crash if you go above the speed limit.
Speak to an Orlando Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you sustained injuries because of a negligent driver on Interstate 4 or anywhere else in Central Florida, discuss your rights and options with an experienced auto accident attorney. Established in 1966, our injury lawyers at Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, PA, have more than 100 years of combined experience holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. To schedule a free consultation, call (407) 843-7060 or complete our contact form.