Personal Injury Attorney Ron Kramer discusses why Interstate 79 running through North Central West Virginia is the setting for so many automobile accidents, car crashes, and vehicle collisions. Watch the video or read the transcript below to learn how to protect yourself on this dangerous road:

I-79 is the main artery that stretches from Morgantown through Fairmont and Clarksburg all the way down through Charleston, WV. There are generally three reasons that accidents occur on I-79:

1. People drive way too fast.

The speed limit on I-79 is generally 70 miles an hour in most-areas, but it’s not uncommon to see vehicles traveling 80 to 90 miles per hour at any given time. The the laws of West Virginia generally require motorists to drive at safe speeds relative to the conditions on the road.

It is unlawful to drive too fast for conditions, so whenever there’s inclement weather such as icy, snowy, or rainy weather it’s generally a good idea to go slower to account for these these factors that we can’t control. But, unfortunately, oftentimes motorists disregard the weather and they drive the same speed limit as if it were on your average sunny day. That in and of itself creates risk, and with excessive risk comes, unfortunately, accidents.

2. Distracted driving.

As we all know, texting and driving is illegal. You can’t do it. But most of us are guilty of doing it from time to time. Unless you get
caught by a police officer, it’s generally not anything you’d get in trouble for. Except if you get into a car accident. If you are distracted driving by playing with your phone–and that includes holding your phone out in front of you so you can keep one eye on the road–it’s still not a hands-free device even if it’s on speakerphone.

And  it’s not just cell phone use. What happens if you go through a drive-through and you’re eating a hamburger while you’re driving your vehicle? That arguably is distracted driving. What happens if you turn around behind you to deal with a fussy baby? That is distracted driving. A prudent driver keeps both hands on its wheel and looks forward while you’re driving. If you don’t do that, chances are you’re guilty of distracted driving and you’re creating excessive risk for those around us.

3. Big rigs.

The third category deals with big rigs, semi trucks, and oversize loads. Oftentimes, these drivers are under strict deadlines to meet their deliveries, and they don’t get enough sleep. Sometimes they improperly load their cargo which can contribute to an accident. Sometimes their equipment fails due to poor vehicle maintenance.

So you have these large trucks on the road that are going so fast–just like any other driver who may not be accounting for inclement weather–and suddenly you don’t just have a large truck. You have a missile headed down I-79, dead-set on trying to meet its deadline, and unfortunately it’s to the disregard of the safety of other motorists. All of those things combined create excess risk and, again, with excess risk you have an increased chance for accidents. That’s what makes I-79 so dangerous.

High speed impacts on I-79 causes catastrophic injuries and oftentimes death on a daily basis. If you know someone who’s been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another–whether that be distracted driving, driving too fast for conditions, or if a big rig tractor-trailer semi hits their vehicle–please have them give us a call or sign up for a free consultation below.