Traffic accidents remain the leading cause of accidental deaths in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Although car accidents occur in neighborhoods, city streets, and local community roadways more often than on major highways, accidents that occur on multi-lane, divided highways are more often deadly, resulting in higher numbers of catastrophic injuries and fatalities. When the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) compared data on accidents on different types of roadways—including urban streets, rural roads, and multi-lane highways—they found that greater numbers of accidents occur on community streets and roads. However, accidents on major highways cause greater property damage, more serious injuries, and more frequent loss of life.

Why Are Catastrophic Accidents More Common on Highways?

Intersections are the most common locations for traffic accidents, including vehicle collisions, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents. Accidents occur less frequently on highways where oncoming traffic is separated by a median and drivers have fewer traffic decisions to make. Still, more fatalities and catastrophic injuries occur on major highways. Studies show that serious injuries and deaths frequently occur on highways due to the higher speeds at which accidents take place. Not only are speed limits substantially higher on highways, but more drivers exceed the speed limit on highways by more than ten miles per hour over the posted limit.

Common Causes of Highway Accidents in New Jersey

During highway travel, drivers face fewer distractions outside of the vehicle. Navigating highways is much easier compared to community roadways, with no pedestrians, fewer curves and turns, and less decision-making required. However, the higher rate of speed on highways causes increased mortality in traffic accidents. Common causes of highway traffic accidents include the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Aggressive driving
  • Following too closely (tailgating)
  • Improper merging from on-ramps
  • Weaving
  • Tire blowouts
  • Poor lighting after dark

Accidents involving delivery trucks or commercial trucks are also more common on highways, substantially adding to property damage and catastrophic injury numbers.

What to Do After a Highway Accident

Highway accidents are terrifying and traumatic, with chaotic aftermaths due to disrupted traffic flow. After a high-speed accident, you may be too seriously injured to do anything other than wait in place for help to arrive; however, by taking purposeful action using your phone, you can document critical evidence even without moving from your position. Use your phone to take photos of the position of the vehicles at the accident scene before the police move them to restore traffic flow. Photograph the damaged vehicles and any visible injuries. If possible, add the contact information of other drivers and eyewitnesses. Eyewitnesses are often critical components of a successful claim for damages in accidents on highways where there are no traffic cameras. Finally, record a brief statement about what you remember of the accident while the details are fresh.

Always go straight to the hospital after the accident, preferably in an ambulance. Ask for a detailed medical report listing all injuries such as whiplash, the doctor’s recommendations for treatment, and your prognosis. The medical report becomes valuable evidence in a highway accident claim to recover damages. 

How Can a Highway Accident Lawyer Help Me?

If you or a loved one suffered a serious or catastrophic injury or wrongful death in a preventable highway accident, an attorney with years of experience in this type of claim helps by providing a skilled investigation into the cause of the accident, evidence of liability, and a compelling case for your compensation against the at-fault party. Call the Cherry Hill car accident attorneys at Cuneo & Leonetti today so we can begin safeguarding your best interests throughout the process of your accident claim.