Traffic Congestion, Especially During Rush Hour, Leads to Longer Commutes, Increasing The Odds of Suffering an Auto Accident in NJ

Growing Incidence of Car Accidents in Congested Traffic in New Jersey

Traffic congestion is a problem in most cities in the country. Morning and afternoon rush hour can make a commute an unpleasant experience. The average commute in the Garden State is 31 minutes.  A crash during rush hour can double or triple that time.  Fatigue, frustration, and road rage contribute to the number of accidents in congested traffic.  Distracted driving and cell phone use can also be factors that cause accidents.

New Jersey Roads, A Costly and Congested Commute Nightmare

Because of the number of traffic accidents and the lousy road conditions, Money Geek financial magazine named New Jersey the worst state to drive in, followed by California, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Maryland; the national average daily commute is 26 minutes, while in New Jersey, it is 5 more minutes.  The cost to the average motorist due to traffic congestion and accidents is $2,626, which is a total of $6.2 billion each year in wasted time and fuel.

Hours lost in traffic slow down New Jersey’s productivity and give a hard blow to the quality of life of its families.  Population growth and economic development have added to the congestion problem.  New Jersians spend more than 52 hours annually stuck in traffic.  Due to its slow commute times, New Jersey ranks 43rd in the country in economic productivity.  New Jersey has the most significant traffic density of any Northeastern states, with congested traffic covering entrances to tunnels and bridges.  Nineteen percent of the state’s roads carry nearly 40% of daily traffic.  The intersection of I-95 and Route 4 in Fort Lee was ranked as the absolute worst bottleneck in the country for truck drivers, with average speeds of 22 to 24 mph. So, to answer the question, yes, traffic congestion in New Jersey is a vast and expensive deal.

Typical Accidents on Congested Roads

Texting, putting on make-up, playing games, or snacks are tempting while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but those distractions can cause an auto accident when it is least expected.  If the driver in front of the distracted driver brakes suddenly or does not move forward with the rest of the traffic, a rear-end collision can result.

When traffic is particularly bad, some drivers will make a U-turn to find another route.  Frequently, this is an illegal maneuver and unwise as visibility can be limited on certain roadways and can result in a T-bone accident

Because the space between cars in a traffic jam is reduced, rear-end chain reaction accidents occur more than any other kind of accident in congested traffic.  Distracted driving or quick braking can cause a multiple-car collision, including several vehicles.

The shoulder of the road is for emergency vehicles or broken-down cars that cannot continue in traffic flow.  Some drivers use them as an extra lane to speed past congested areas, but they are met with a stationary vehicle, and a dangerous accident occurs.

The frustration of being stuck in traffic can cause road rage, leading to tailgating, cutting other drivers off, or not allowing someone in front of you in a bottleneck area.  Road rage causes thousands of accidents a day.  It isn’t worth the safety of the driver and passengers to win an extra bit of space or show another driver who is boss by cutting them off.

The most dangerous accidents occur when impatient drivers use the oncoming lane to save time and gas.  Unable to slip back into their line of traffic, a head-on collision occurs, causing life-threatening injuries and even death.

Low Speed Doesn’t Mean Injury-Free

Injuries in a slow-speed accident typical in congested traffic usually include neck injuries, whiplash, concussions, sprains, and strains.  More severe accidents can result in exposed fractures, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), contusions, internal hemorrhaging, a lacerated liver, ruptured spleen, cuts, scrapes, joint injuries, and fractures.  Facial injuries such as cuts, a broken nose, broken cheekbones or jaw, and eye injuries can also occur.

Calm Driving as a Strategy to Avoid Accidents on Congested Roads

The most critical skill when driving in congested traffic is to have patience.  You can listen to your favorite radio station playlist or even try an audiobook.  It is essential to avoid getting distracted and keep your eyes on the road, but you needn’t sit silently the whole trip.  A serious form of distraction is zoning out from boredom and not being aware of the cars around you.  The key is to enjoy the ride as much as possible while driving responsibly.

Kindness is critical when driving on congested roadways.  Everyone is anxious to get where they are going, but is letting a few drivers switch lanes and go in front of you affecting your driving time?  Being kind prevents someone from forcing their way into your lane and sideswiping you. They would be at fault, but wouldn’t it be better to avoid the accident altogether?

Make sure you are consistent about tune-ups and check your car’s fluids frequently.  If your radiator blows or your brake fluid leaks, your inability to move with the traffic flow can worsen the congestion.  Keep up with repairs to prevent this from happening.

Don’t Worsen the Circumstances with Heightened Frustration

Accident in Heavy Traffic in Trenton, NJ

Road rage is a term used to describe angry drivers.  Road ragers will tailgate, switch lanes frequently, honk their horn excessively, and brake check (stopping their vehicle suddenly) the driver behind them. 

According to the American Psychological Association, 48% of drivers admitted to displaying road rage behaviors at least once.  Tens of thousands of accidents as a result of road rage leave many people in the hospital and some in the morgue.  Drivers with road rage are selfish and dangerous.  They frequently drive dangerously to save time and dominate the other drivers.  A recent study shows over 90% of road ragers are male.

Usual Protocols Following an Accident in Congested Traffic

After an accident, you must protect yourself and get as much evidence as possible.  Firstly, pull over to the shoulder of the road if you can.  Take pictures of both cars and the area where the incident happened.  Share critical information with the other driver.  Contact the police and be sure to get a copy of the police report.  Also, get medical care even if you feel fine.  Injuries can arise a day or two later, and you need documentation.

Take a Deep Breath and Speak to a Knowledgeable Traffic Congestion Accident Lawyer in NJ

Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Cohen & Riechelson can help you navigate the ins and outs of New Jersey law in Monroe, Dunellen, Lawrence, Ewing, Carteret, and throughout Mercer County and Middlesex County.  We will file the necessary forms and reports, calculate fair compensation, and hold all parties accountable for your damages.

Whether we are negotiating with the insurance company or litigating your case in court, our aggressive attorneys will work hard to get you the settlement to which you are entitled.  There is a two-year statute of limitations, so don’t delay in contacting us.

Call us today at (609) 528-2596 or fill out a contact form for your free consultation.