Polk County's Dangerous Roads
This year alone in Polk County, there have been 5,647 crashes, with half ending in injury and 63 in a fatality. And, according to the Lakeland Ledger, Polk County made the list this year as the fifth most deadly metropolitan area for pedestrians car accidents in America. This is likely because of the streets planned with “Unnecessarily wide lanes encourage high speeds, a major factor in the likelihood of surviving a collision, and many streets are designed with wide turning lanes that allow cars to make right turns through crosswalks at high speeds,” says Emiko Atherton, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. This puts both drivers and pedestrians at a much greater risk of danger. State Road 37, otherwise known as, Florida Avenue in Lakeland is an example of this issue. As part of the solution, “where there have been so many accidents, the city even installed pedestrian islands in some areas. An ironic way of showing how much they're needed? A construction worker on the project was even killed by a car onsite himself… The most dangerous crash sites in the county happened along U.S. 92, State Road 92, State Road 659, and State Road 37 in Lakeland, along with State Road 544 in Winter Haven and County Road 655 in Wahneta.”
Another is the intersection of Griffin Road and 98 N in Lakeland, which the Ledger cites as, “No. 1 among Polk County’s top 10 dangerous intersections because of the heavy traffic there. The number of crashes recorded is a combination of wrecks that happen in the intersection and within 100 feet of it.” This intersection is heavily populated, especially during rush hours in the morning and evening when people are heading to and from work. Lakeland is additionally known for three other crash site hotspots: “Memorial Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue had 45 crashes, and so did the intersection of the West Edgewood Extension and South Florida Avenue. Memorial Boulevard and North Florida Avenue was the scene of 41 crashes.” These intersections can be tricky because they run on short lights and can get backed up easily. What causes the frequency of these accidents? “Harper said there are two main reasons for crashes at most Lakeland intersections. One is when people attempt to run red lights and think they can make it through the intersection in time, and the second is when drivers aren’t paying attention and rear-end the vehicle in front of them at a red light. (The Ledger)”
Fortunately, there are many things drivers can do to protect themselves and pedestrians from these accidents, and in the event of accidents. As aforementioned, the leading cause of accidents at these intersections is the failure to pay attention and practice safe driving habits. Avoiding these accidents is as simple as keeping your mind and eyes on the road. Try to refrain from texting and driving, driving while excessively tired, driving under the influence of any kind, and getting distracted by the roadside. It is also important to stay up to date on traffic regulations and tendencies in your area. Knowing about a new stop sign, a new change in the speed limit of an area, or roughly how long a green light lasts could make the difference between getting up safely and being involved in an accident. Drivers should also be sure to keep his or her temper in check. Being backed up at an intersection like the West Edgewood Extension and South Florida Avenue can be frustrating, but running the light after it’s red, tailing the car before you only puts you and others in danger. These simple practices can also back you up in the event of an accident by helping rid you of liability for the accident. When you just drive while you’re on the road, you are unlikely to be faulted in an accident, and less likely to be in one period.
Remember if you’re a pedestrian, to always us the marked crosswalk when available to cross a road. If you’re the unfortunate pedestrian who is struck by a negligent driver and you are in the mark or designated crosswalk then there may be little to no evidence to support that you were at fault in the accident. Many of the crosswalks have signals that inform the pedestrian when and when not to cross the street Lakeland’s famed and dangerous Memorial Boulevard, in Lakeland. Smart “HAWK” crosswalk signal indicators designed to prevent pedestrian car accidents. These smart crosswalks have been installed in other dangerous intersection crossings in towns and cities throughout Polk County. When the crossing signals are available never try and cross the street without using them.
Many factors go into making a street or roadway dangerous. The Florida Department of Transportation maintains records for location and data on the different types of traffic accidents. The design of the road is based on the past traffic count and expected future traffic count. FDOT can miscalculate and as time passes the original design of the road may render the road dangerous and unsafe with the need of changes to improve the road or intersection making it safe once again. Moody Law has filed claims against FDOT for unsafe and dangerous roads in the past where persons have been injured.
The east west road known State Road (SR) 60 has been the site of many deadly crashes involving semi-tractor trailer crashes. SR 60 runs horizontally across the state from the east coast to the west coast. In some places on SR 60 large trucks are entering the highway from side streets or narrow roadways and there is little room for maneuvering together with visibility restrictions for the truck to entering the highway. With cars travelling at high speeds or on a foggy morning the circumstances present an accident waiting to happen. We represented a family who was entering the highway from 80 Foot Road on to SR 60 near Bartow and a semi-truck was speeding in heavy fog and killed the entire family. State Road (SR 37) FL 37 South of Mulberry and the surrounding roads are another stretch of highway where the roads are very dangerous in Polk County. In some areas of SR 37 semi-trucks are travelling and entering the roadway for deliveries to and from Mosaic Phosphate mine.
Moody Law has handled many car, truck and pedestrian accidents throughout Polk County and beyond. We are familiar with the dangerous roads and intersections in Polk County. If someone is injured on one of these roads or highway, we can deploy our rapid support team to document and preserve the evidence immediately. If you or a family member would like a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us. There is no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery for you.