Drivers who use Interstate 95 to cross Washington Heights and the Bronx in New York may be surprised to learn they are traveling one of the most dangerous routes in the country. That’s the conclusion of Go Safe Labs, a nonprofit that uses data to advance transport infrastructure.
Top Accident Hotspots in NYC
Go Safe Lab’s analysis of 1.8 million accident reports from across the country in 2018 and 2019 identified a variety of auto crash hotspots. For areas of high traffic volume, the segments of I-95 crossing from New Jersey, across Upper Manhattan and into the Bronx represent three of the top 10 most dangerous places for drivers in 2019.
Each of the accident hotspots saw more than 100 crashes last year, which Go Safe researchers said was unsurprising given that they are some of the most heavily traveled stretches of highway in the country, a Patch.com report of the study says.
Each of the three New York accident hotspots on I-95 are locations where drivers prepare to cross a bridge, Patch.com notes. They are on both sides of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, which crosses from Washington Heights to the Bronx, and the location where I-95 crosses Riverside Drive on the other side of Washington Heights where drivers get ready to go on the George Washington Bridge.
The Washington Heights side of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, where the highway crosses Harlem River Drive, saw 208 crashes in 2019, making it the most dangerous of the three spots, the researchers said. Those 208 crashes were the second most of any spot in the country.
Washington Heights is a neighborhood in the northern portion of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is bordered by Harlem to the south along 155th Street, Inwood to the north along Dyckman Street or Hillside Avenue, the Hudson River to the west, and the Harlem River and Coogan’s Bluff to the east.
Other NYC hotspots to watch out for:
- The Bronx side of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, where the highway crosses with Sedgwick Avenue, saw 142 crashes last year, making it the fifth most dangerous place on the list.
- The George Washington Bridge and Riverside Drive crossing saw 132 crashes last year, making it the seventh most dangerous place on the list.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities for Drivers
New York is not in the Top 10 most dangerous cities for drivers. In 2019, the most crashes occurred in:
- Los Angeles
- Oklahoma City
- Baton Rouge
These rankings are based on raw numbers. Go Safe Labs says it did not correct for confounding factors such as city area, traffic volume, population, or vehicle miles traveled. They counted just the volume of accidents occurring without accounting for the severity of accidents, or fatal accidents.
Why Are There So Many Car Accidents at Bridges?
Bridges (overpasses) are common on interstates and other major highways that travel through urban areas. The primary dangers they pose, compared to open highways, are the entrance posts, wing walls, and other hard structures, which can cause severe injury if vehicles collide with them.
Bridges may also require traffic to merge into fewer lanes and to use exit and entrance ramps, which can cause conflicts in traffic as it enters or leaves the bridge. Lack of adequate shoulder width at bridges also contributes to the large number of accidents at bridges.
Snowy and/or icy conditions also contribute to the high percentage of accidents at bridges, overpasses and ramps, particularly on the interstate system. Elevated surfaces are enveloped in cold air and freeze more easily than roadways insulated by the ground below.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) says there were 193 fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2017 in which the first harmful event was a collision with a bridge.
Drive I-95 Safely in New York
The N.Y. Department of Motor Vehicles offers the following safe driving tips, which it says are particularly useful for older drivers:
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Continuously move your eyes and observe all traffic.
- Look for vehicles that enter the highway from curbs, driveways and businesses.
- Be alert for parked cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
- Frequently check both your inside and outside rearview mirrors.
- Check for traffic behind you. Turn your head and neck and look over your shoulder before you turn or change traffic lanes.
- Make sure that it is safe to pass or change traffic lanes before you do so.
- Do not expect that you will have the right of way, even if you know it should be given to you.
- When you drive in rain or winter weather, reduce your speed and increase your following distance.
- Never drive after consuming alcohol or drugs (including prescription drugs). Read the labels on over-the-counter medications. OTC drugs can affect your ability to drive.
Contact a NYC Car Accident Lawyer
Heavy traffic, road construction, business deliveries, a large number of pedestrians, bicycle traffic and tourists all combine for a high number of car accidents in New York City. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in New York, or if you have lost a close family member in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your costs and losses.
The car accident attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., fight for the rights of victims who have been unjustly injured in traffic accidents in the NYC metro area. We are familiar with the factors that contribute to collisions in New York City and are highly experienced with New York insurance and personal injury law. We have helped many families in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx move forward after serious car accidents.
For a free initial legal consultation about your car accident claim, call David Resnick & Associates, P.C., at (212) 279-2000 now or fill out our online contact form.