Why interstates are both safer and more dangerous

May 5, 2020 | Accident Injury

Have you ever wondered if driving on the interstate is safer or more dangerous than driving on normal highways? It may depend what you’re used to. For many young drivers, for instance, the high speeds on the interstate are intimidating in a way that the smaller roads around their homes are not. But does that make them more or less dangerous?

You’ll find that it is a little of both. To start with, we do know that high speeds make severe injuries more likely when crashes occur. The issue is energy. Scientists note that a speed increase of 10% — going 55 miles per hour instead of 50 miles per hour, for instance — leads to a 20% energy increase. A crash with more energy leads to greater injuries. Therefore, a crash at 75 mph on the interstate could be far more dangerous than a crash at 40 mph on a smaller road.

That said, interstates have many features that make them safer. All traffic coming on and off is controlled. You do not have opposing traffic on the same street. There are no traffic lights, stop signs, pedestrian crossings or bike lanes. You don’t have cross streets or areas where a car will turn through your lane. With all traffic flowing in the same direction, at the same speed, the odds of an accident are lower.

So, you’re less likely to crash while driving on an interstate. If you do, though, you’re more likely to have serious injuries. You may need to seek financial compensation if someone else caused those injuries.