The Tennessee system of highways has come under fire recently, as reports begin to stack up showing that they are inherently unsafe in some regards.
One wreck, which happened roughly 3 weeks ago, claimed the lives of 3 men, which some experts are saying could have been prevented entirely.
The incident happened when the pickup truck that the 3 men were in had a tire blow out, which sent the truck across the median and into oncoming traffic, where it came into contact with an 18-wheeler. Tire blowouts are fairly common, but experts are saying that the 3 men’s lives could have been saved if the highway had a safety barrier in the median.
It is common knowledge that head-on collisions are more dangerous than any other type, but the problem is exacerbated at highway speeds. The National Transportation Safety Board conducted an investigation recently into the 135,198 crashes that occurred on divided highways in California, and came to the conclusion that crossover wrecks like this one were over 5 times as deadly as any other type of accident.
Modern safety features such as locking seatbelts, anti-lock braking systems, and multiple airbags routinely save the lives of individuals who are in head-on collisions on residential streets. When head-on collisions happen between 2 vehicles that are travelling 60-70 miles per hour, however, there is an inherent inevitability that the accident will be fatal. The only real protection in situations like that is to prevent oncoming traffic from coming together in the first place.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation has started to construct several median safety barriers, which have already saved lives. It remains to be seen whether they will continue this trend, or if the few they constructed were merely a one-off thing.