Drivers in Atlantic spent an average of 70 hours in 2017 stuck in traffic, according to Inrix, a global transportation company. Atlanta has one of the worst congestion issues in the country and the problems are becoming more severe. Atlanta traffic is a cause for concern, not least because of the link between congestion and accidents.
The increased gridlock on Atlanta’s interstates and streets is a sign of the buoyant economy in Georgia’s capital. According to economists, Atlanta’s recent job numbers and projected future job growth are out-pacing the country’s economy as a whole. The Atlanta Regional Commission states the city experienced its strongest year of population growth since the Great Recession in 2016. The only city to experience more rapid growth was San Francisco.
The downside is more congested roads, more commercial vehicles in and around Atlanta, and more wrecks involving big rigs.
In response to the challenge, the Georgia Department of Transportation has published an action plan called the Major Mobility Investment Program.
The plan envisages 11 initial improvements that rely on state and federal funding dedicated by law to improving roads and bridges. Many of these projects are in the Atlanta area.
They include reducing congestion on I-85 in Gwinnett, Barrow, and Jackson counties to the north east of Atlanta by widening I-85 from north of I-985. A project slated for 2021 would cut congestion on I-85 in Gwinnett, Jackson, and Barrow, and Jackson Counties by widening I-85 from north of I-985 to just north of US 129.
There is considerable anecdotal evidence that greater traffic volumes cause accidents. More big rigs on the highway mean a greater likelihood of accidents involving big trucks.
However, academic research on the link between congestion and traffic accident gives an unclear picture.
A study by the Maryland Department of Transportation found a variable picture and no clear link. It stated:
“The impact of congestion on the accident rate tends to vary between freeways and arterials, and differs significantly across peak and off-peak periods … accident rates on local arterials tend to decrease with an increase in traffic volume. In contrast, accident rates on freeway segments during peak hours indicate a positive correlation with traffic volume per lane.”
The research suggested interstates become more dangerous when congested but other roads do not. This may be because traffic typically travels at higher speeds on interstates and stop and start conditions may be more dangerous.
Despite the findings, there is a clear link between road rage and traffic accidents. During times of congestion, drivers are more likely to become impatient and angry, particularly if they are running late.
Many drivers have experienced anger or aggression while driving. A study by AAA suggests as many as 80 percent of all drivers experienced anger or aggression in the year before they were quizzed.
Symptoms include purposeful tailgating, a habit that can cause rear-end accidents and elicit a backlash from other drivers. Other practices include excess speed, failure to yield and red light running. About 47 percent of drivers reported yelling at other drivers. About 45 percent of drivers admitted to angrily honking at other motorists.
Although drivers in a hurry may seek to switch lanes to beat congestion or to speed up, these practices seldom get them ahead.
Road rage and impatient driving can be deadly on busy highways such as those around Atlanta which are full of big rigs. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck crash, please call our Newnan trucking injury lawyers today for a consultation at (404) 913-1529.