Most cities have certain highways or roads that seem to be extremely accident prone. One section of roadway in the Charleston, South Carolina area has gradually become more and more dangerous over the past decade. It is important for drivers to be especially alert and move safely through these areas to avoid collisions.
Two Charleston bridges are the site of a number of accidents
The report focused on two bridges that connect isolated areas to the rest of the city. These are The Don N. Holt and Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridges. Accidents are so problematic in these areas because there is no other way in or out of the main Charleston metro area for about 100,000 residents. Many drivers also commented that they seem to see crashes on these bridges that cause large delays on a regular basis.
Research has shown that since the 2010s started, accidents on those bridges have doubled and injuries related to those accidents are about triple of what they were in prior years.
A sergeant assigned to the traffic enforcement division of the local police mentioned that all of the roads in the general area are accident prone. However, accidents on the bridges are even worse because they cause more congestion and are more noticeable. Drivers essentially get stuck when there is an accident in one of these areas. This is in contrast with other highways in the area, where drivers can just pull into a business and take some kind of alternative route or wait it out.
A number of incidents on the Ravenel bridge have become very serious because there are no additional lanes where a disabled vehicle can stop. This has even led to fatalities on the bridge.
One deadly accident in June of 2017 claimed a 21 year male old victim, and two others were injured at the same time. The victim’s car hit another vehicle that had come to a stop on the bridge due to a mechanical problem. A third car went into the back of his, and the victim’s car was crushed between the two others. Police investigated but did not file any criminal charges. They believe the third driver simply got distracted and made a mistake.
Three police departments–Charleston, North Charleston, and Mount Pleasant, share enforcement and patrol duties on the Ravenel and Holt bridges. Officers with all three agencies say that tailgating and distracted driving cause a majority of the crashes they investigate. One deputy chief who is assigned to traffic investigations said that he sees many local drivers simply getting careless and either speeding or getting too close to other cars while not paying attention. He said local drivers should know better and drive carefully on these bridges.
The design of the bridges is problematic and contributes to their accident prone nature. When the Holt bridge meets Interstate 526, it widens with an additional lane for trucks, but the traffic has to merge again as drivers approach the end of the bridge, which can be dangerous. Ravenel is known for having problems due to exit lanes that require lots of lane changes and no shoulder or lanes for vehicles to get out of the way if there is an accident or an emergency stop is needed. The bridge also gets severe backups from the traffic lights ahead in Mount Pleasant.
The fact that there is a higher speed limit on Ravenel than other roads in the area does not give drivers much time to stop. The speed limit is 55, but it is common for drivers to have to make sudden stops due to congestion. Both bridges also come to a peak and then curve down and each side, making drivers unaware of traffic on the other side of the bridge because they cannot see it.
Some accident stories that were shared around the time of the report included a driver who hit someone riding a moped, and another deadly accident where a large settlement was paid out in lieu of criminal reckless homicide charges.
The importance of a location in a civil lawsuit
While some sections of road may be more dangerous than others, the fact that a crash occurred in an area known for car crashes will not affect a victim’s ability to sue. In a standard negligence lawsuit, the attorney for the plaintiff is mostly concerned with proving fault and the amount of damages caused by the other driver’s actions.
When someone is involved in a crash on any dangerous stretch of road, they should still follow all standard procedures related to making an insurance claim and notifying law enforcement.
Call a local lawyer to find out about the possibility of an accident lawsuit
If you have been injured in any kind of motor vehicle accident in Charleston or nearby parts of South Carolina, there is help available. The Clekis Law Firm can provide a consultation where an attorney will speak with you about your case.