Rising Population Leads to Increase in Traffic Volumes, Accidents in Middle TN
Around 30,000 new residents arrive in Middle Tennessee every year, making it one of the fastest growing regions in the country.
Per a report by WKRN.com, the population boom in Nashville and surrounding cities has created “traffic nightmares” for residents and visitors. However, a long-term plan called Middle Tennessee Connected, which was conceived by the Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization, could alleviate some of the traffic problems—but only after $8.6 billion in improvements are built over a 25-year period.
MPO officials say that there simply aren’t enough roads in and around Nashville for the number of cars that travel through the area every day, and that has led to a spike in car accidents over the past five years.
The current plan for reducing traffic woes is to focus on improving public transit options and offer more commuter rail systems. In addition, MTC wants to improve biking and walking paths while improving the interstate infrastructure around Nashville.
Nashville’s interstate loop system was initially conceived when the city’s population was substantially lower than it is today, making it much less effective at handling the heavy traffic volumes.
How Does Traffic Contribute to Accidents?
Although it’s not commonly thought of as being a primary cause of car accidents, especially when compared to things like drunk driving, distracted driving, and reckless driving, traffic can be a contributing factor of collisions.
High traffic volumes can increase the risk of accidents for a few reasons, such as:
- Increased risk of road rage and aggressive driving behaviors
Safe driving requires maintaining a calm and collected demeanor and relying on good judgment. When drivers are emotional, angry, and upset due to delays and heavy traffic volumes, they’re more likely to engage in behaviors that are out of character, risky, and dangerous. That can include things like tailgating, changing lanes erratically, slamming on brakes, and even intentionally ramming other vehicles.
- Less room to maneuver and drive defensively
Gridlocked and bumper-to-bumper traffic means that drivers may have only a few feet separating them from other cars in all directions. When a situation that could result in an accident occurs near them, they may simply not have enough room to avoid being involved in a collision—especially a pile-up chain-reaction style crash. Leaving plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you can make dense traffic less dangerous.
- More drivers create more opportunities for crashes
When you’re driving in dense traffic, the likelihood that you’re driving near someone who is distracted, intoxicated, or fatigued increases significantly compared to driving during off-peak hours or when you’re driving on roads with less traffic. When thousands of vehicles pass through a small stretch of highway or interstate in a short period, the chances that an accident will occur go up significantly due to the increased numbers of potentially negligent drivers.
Efforts to reduce traffic burdens in Nashville and throughout the mid-state area won’t just save residents and visitors time, but they can also save lives. If it’s feasible, using public transportation to get to work or taking back roads can help you reduce your risk of being involved in an accident—not to mention reduce your stress levels. If you can’t avoid traveling on heavily trafficked roads during rush hour, keep your attention focused on the road and try stress-relieving techniques, as drivers are more likely to make bad and dangerous decisions when they’re angry or upset.
If you or someone you know was hurt in an auto accident in Tennessee that was caused by road rage, drunk driving, or reckless behaviors behind the wheel, the Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law may be able to help. We have two decades of experience assisting injured victims like you, and we know what it takes to build cases that get results. Get in touch with us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.