Car Accidents in Asheville
Asheville residents see car accidents nearly every day on the city’s streets. Hundreds of car accidents occur each year in Buncombe County and the surrounding areas of Western North Carolina. Many of these accidents cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
Recent studies have shown that accident injuries and deaths increased have increased in North Carolina over the past few years. Buncombe County, Haywood, Henderson, and other surrounding counties fit with that trend, with more deaths and more injuries in 2015 than in 2014. What makes Buncombe County such an unsafe place to drive? What can be done about its unsafe roads?
Asheville’s rapid growth
There is a lot to love about Asheville, and it shows: Asheville has one of the most rapidly-increasing populations in the country. It is the number one tourist destination in North Carolina, and many of those tourists choose to make it home. Its population has grown at about twice the national average over the past 10 years and is several points higher than the average in the rest of the state.
The topography of Western North Carolina makes it difficult to accommodate this kind of growth. Congestion, narrow roadways, and other factors contribute to many accidents, particularly in formerly-rural areas like Fletcher and Leicester that have become home to thousands of new residents in recent years.
The narrow, crowded roads in and around Buncombe County are only one part of the equation that makes Asheville drivers so vulnerable to accidents. Mountain roads are notorious for dangerous blind curves and areas with little or no protection from running off-road. Freezing conditions and punishing rainstorms also contribute to the dangerous conditions of Asheville’s roads.
Asheville’s hazardous road conditions coupled with dangerous habits like speeding, aggressive or distracted driving leave motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists exposed to the risk of serious accidents. Speeding is a contributor to nearly 1 in 3 accidents in North Carolina. Residential areas and areas with high foot traffic are especially dangerous places to speed, but this doesn’t stop many drivers from putting others around them at risk of injury. Outreach campaigns like Slow Down Asheville have drawn attention to the problem of speeding in these places, reminding drivers of the importance of using safe speeds in areas where people live.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Many of the accidents that occur in our area each year happen on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The confusing and often-unforgiving Parkway poses the risks we have discussed up to this point. The blind curves of the Parkway can spell disaster for people driving at high speeds – and the motorists around them.
There is another factor behind accidents on the Parkway: distracted driving. Tourists and residents alike travel this winding road, and the beautiful views pose a distraction different from those that usually cause drivers’ attention to wander.
The National Park Service responded to rising numbers of accidents by lowering the speed limit in some areas of the Parkway and placing signs reminding drivers of hazardous roads. The result was a year-to-year decrease in the number of accidents. Steps like this by transportation officials can have a tremendous impact by reducing the risk of accidents to motorists who drive in these areas.
DWI’s (Driving While Intoxicated)
As we discussed in our earlier post on DWI accidents in Asheville, many car accidents in the area involve drivers who are intoxicated. Buncombe County has the highest number of DWI arrests in North Carolina, and many of these arrests occur after a car accident.
DWI enforcement has not been enough of a deterrent in keeping intoxicated people off the roads. While every person is responsible for their own actions, there is clearly a danger in Asheville’s drinking culture that leads to many people getting hurt each year in drunk driving accidents. DWI arrests and prosecution are reactive in nature – an intoxicated person has to drive and place others at risk before anyone can intervene. Discouraging bars and restaurants from serving people to the point of intoxication would be a preventive approach that could avert the dangers of drunk driving before they happen.
Contact an Asheville personal injury attorney after an accident.
Many of the accidents that occur in Buncombe County involve serious injuries, like broken bones or traumatic brain injuries, that may require surgery, in-home medical equipment, and long-term therapy. The expense of treatment, along with lost wages and other losses from the accident, often leave victims and their families struggling financially for months or longer. Insurance companies are in business to pay out as little as possible for claims, even – or especially – expensive claims involving serious injuries.
An experienced personal injury team often makes a significant difference in car accident cases involving serious injuries. Accident victims who have an attorney frequently recover more money from insurance companies than people who try to resolve their claims alone. Our team is ready to evaluate your case at no cost. Contact our Asheville personal injury firm today to schedule a consultation, where we will make a plan to move forward so that you can focus on your health.