The United States is the third largest country in the world by square miles. It also has the largest road network in the world, with 4 million miles of roads throughout the country.
Considering the vastness of our roadway system – and how much our roads are used – there are obvious issues that arise.
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in 2016, 3.2 trillion miles were driven on U.S. roads and highways. This is up from 3.09 trillion miles driven in 2015.
Why has the number of miles driven increased? There are several reasons. First, lower gasoline prices make it more affordable for Americans to drive. The average price of a gallon of gas nationwide is $2.36 – the average price of a gallon of gas in 2012 was $3.60.
A strong economy and low unemployment also contribute to the increase in miles driven by American drivers. More people are driving to work. Many Americans have more disposable income – and are out and about spending it. All of these contribute to an increase in miles driven on our nation’s roads and highways.
There are many downsides to the increase in miles driven:
- More wear and tear on our roads and bridges
- More road construction and maintenance projects
- More expense in maintaining roads and bridges
- More traffic and congestion
- More accidents and injuries
These growing pains can be problematic on many levels. All of these factors can add to the stress the average driver feels. When it comes to preventing traffic accidents, there are several things drivers can do to keep themselves safe:
- Practice defensive driving: Defensive driving is the practice of planning for the unexpected while driving. Defensive driving allows a driver to spot potential hazards on the road – whether it be dangerous road conditions or an inattentive driver – and react before an accident occurs. Defensive driving courses are available online and at driver education locations.
- Stop drunk driving: Drinking and driving is responsible for thousands of traffic accidents every year. Drivers who have been drinking should hand their keys over to a sober friend or call an Uber – anything to avoid risky drunk driving.
- Stop distracted driving: Study after study proves the dangers of driving while distracted. Every driver should take a zero-tolerance approach to talking on a cell phone or texting while driving.
Most of all, drivers should respect other drivers on the road. We all collectively play a part in keeping our roadways safe.
Free consultation: If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Washington, please schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys by calling 1-844-ELK-WEST.