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How Often Do Accidents on Bridges Happen?

Published on May 7, 2024 at 7:06 pm in Car Accidents.

Accidents can happen anywhere and anytime, and bridges are no exception. These incidents can be dangerous due to the potential difficulty of accessing the site and providing assistance. The severity of the injuries sustained in bridge accidents can also be affected by the height and structure of the bridge.

But how often do accidents occur on bridges? At the Golden Law Office, we know that any accident can be devastating. When it happens on a bridge, it can lead to serious damages and injuries.

Let’s examine the factors behind these crashes and the number of incidents on America’s bridges.

What Are a Few Factors for Bridge Collisions?

Bridges are essential for transportation. However, you need to be careful when traveling over them. Some drivers are even afraid to cross these structures, especially with the news of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse and other incidents on the road. Here are a few reasons why accidents happen at these locations.

Height of the Structure

Bridges often span rivers, valleys, or other gaps, placing vehicles high above the ground. This can be intimidating for some drivers, leading to anxiety or fear while driving over the bridge. Additionally, the open structure of bridges exposes drivers to strong winds, especially on longer spans. The wind can make it harder to control your vehicle, causing it to sway or move unpredictably.

Less Space Than Regular Roads

Another factor contributing to the perceived danger of bridges is the narrow lanes and limited space. When you drive on a bridge, you have narrower lanes than regular roads, which means there is less room for maneuvering. Passing other vehicles or changing lanes, especially when heavy traffic, can be dangerous.

Driving Surface Is Different

The surface of a bridge is different from that of regular roads. Metal grates, expansion joints, or concrete affect tire grip, which can again cause some drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Additionally, rain, snow, or ice accumulation on bridges can reduce traction, leading to skidding or accidents.

Let’s not forget that some bridges have sharp curves or turns. Maneuvering through these bends requires extra caution. If a driver travels at a high speed, it can be easy to control a vehicle.

Poor Maintenance

Unfortunately, as bridges age, they may begin to show signs of wear and tear. Rust and structural weakness can affect their integrity. Proper maintenance ensures that bridges remain safe and functional. If a government or private entity fails to inspect these structures, it can lead to sudden failures or collapses.

Reckless Behavior

Driver behavior plays a crucial role in ensuring safety while driving on bridges. Speeding, tailgating, or driving aggressively can escalate the risks of driving on bridges. Drivers may panic due to the height or unfamiliarity of the bridge, which can exacerbate the situation.

Limited Emergency Spaces

Escape from a bridge can be difficult in case of breakdowns or accidents. Many times, emergency lanes do not exist or are too narrow. In turn, drivers are unable to move their vehicles to a safe location, resulting in a bottleneck effect and hazard on the road.

Driver Hesitation

Psychological factors can also play a part in driving on bridges. Fear of heights can affect some drivers, leading to anxiety or panic attacks. The perception of being suspended over water or a deep gorge can add to the fear. This can cause drivers to lose focus and become more prone to accidents.

How Often Do These Accidents Occur?

While no statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state the exact number of accidents on bridges, we can look at the number of bridge collisions per year. According to a recent estimate, bridges were impacted at least 15,000 times yearly. Many of those accidents resulted from cars, trucks, and other vehicles hitting a bridge.

While we don’t have a hard estimate of accidents on bridges in the nation or even the state, these structures can be dangerous. With Kentucky’s 14,493 bridges, there are plenty of spots to be involved in an accident, especially if the factors above play a role in the incident.

Even recently, a dramatic incident occurred on the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, which connects Louisville, Kentucky, to southern Indiana. A three-vehicle crash resulted in a semi-truck driver dangling over the Ohio River.

Luckily, the swift response of firefighters ensured the driver’s well-being and prevented a potentially disastrous situation. Incidents like that are common occurrences in vehicle accidents on bridges.

If you are ever driving across a bridge, always exercise extreme caution. Unlike roads and highways, the road surface, weather conditions, and even driver behavior can affect your safety driving over these structures.

Whether you have been involved in a car accident on one of Lexington’s roads, highways, or bridges, the legal team at Golden Law Office is always available for consultation.

Golden Law is a local, Kentucky Law Firm, attorneys/lawyers in Fayette County, Kentucky, working in the fields of personal injury, auto accidents, car and truck wrecks; medical malpractice: doctors, hospitals & nursing homes; senior living abuse: neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, dehydration, bedsores, catastrophic injuries, and broken bones. If you are considering a lawsuit, call us at 859.469.5000 for a free consultation. We are located at 771 Corporate Dr. Suite 800/ Lexington, Kentucky 40503. We handle cases all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have represented and trained people in major insurance companies & major trucking companies. We have first hand experience and know the ‘inside of the insurance business’ … that’s a distinction that no other law firm can make. We’re Your Advocate. Dale Golden, Laraclay Parker.

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