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Interstate 79 Wrecks Are a Good Reminder To Play It Safe

Posted in Car accident on July 28, 2023

If you live in North Central West Virginia, its nearly impossible not to travel on Interstate 79 at some point during your week.  Whether you are driving to Morgantown to enjoy a sporting event, Fairmont for a weekend concert at Palatine Park, or Clarksburg for a delicious dinner, you will likely travel on North Central West Virginia’s main interstate.

Over the last several months there have been multiple car accidents on Interstate 79 between Clarksburg and Morgantown.  Ongoing construction and fast driving have contributed to many of the recent wrecks along within inattentive and careless driving. Heavy Truck traffic can also cause hazardous situations as big rigs have a more difficult time traveling through our mountainous terrain.

The convenience of driving on an interstate to get from point A to point B, can, however, come at a cost when drivers fail to make safety a number 1 priority. Given the amount of recent car accidents in West Virginia that have occurred, it is a good time to be reminded of safety tips when driving on interstate highways.

Always Wear a Seatbelt

For many, this seems like a no-brainer. Buckling-up is often an automatic habit that is second nature for many. However, there are still many people that forget to put their seatbelt on when they get into a vehicle. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, seat belt use in cars saved approximately 14,955 lives in 2017. For comparison, in 2021, 26,325 people were killed in cars and about 50% of those killed were not wearing a seat belt.

Avoid Distractions

Focus and attention are paramount when driving on the interstate. Distractions, like talking on the phone or eating while driving, severely limit one’s ability to continuously pay attention while driving. In 2020 alone, it is estimated that 3,142 people were killed in car wrecks involving distracted drivers.

If a phone call or navigation is necessary, enlist a passenger to help with directions or handle the call.

Follow the Speed Limit

Speed limits are created with safety in mind.  According to the National Safety Council, increased speed was a factor in 29% of all traffic deaths in 2021.  Following the speed limit helps to ensure better control of your car and reduces the risk of wrecks.  Speeding increases the likelihood of a wreck and also increases the severity of injuries if a car accident occurs.

Be Mindful of Large Trucks and Tractor Trailers

Large trucks and tractor-trailers take more time to speed up, slow down, and maneuver in traffic. Drivers should take steps to avoid cutting in front of large trucks too closely as they often have bigger blind spots and need more time to stop.

Keep a Safe Following Distance

When traveling at interstate speeds, remember the 3 to 4 second rule as a good guideline: select a fixed point in front of you and when a vehicle in front of you passes it, count to three or four. This rule will help to allow enough time to react to sudden braking and other unexpected events.

It is almost impossible to travel throughout North Central West Virginia without traveling on Interstate 79. When driving, be mindful of the rules of the road and keep these tips in mind for a safer journey. Buckle up, stay focused and be mindful.