Sarasota’s Rapid Development Has Led To Greater Traffic Issues

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While Florida itself is regarded by many tourists as a vacation spot to get away from harsh winters in the rest of the country—or world, for that matter—for many people, Florida is just home. This is nowhere more true than right here in Sarasota, where the region has seen a big explosion in development. It’s no longer leisurely drives from one town to the next with some sunny sights in between; urban expansion has created lanes of roads bracketed by many strip malls and big box retailers and increased intersections, traffic lights, and roadways to help deal with the significant boost in local traffic.

In other words, like other parts of the United States, Sarasota is experiencing growing urban density and the motor vehicle traffic that comes with it.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that as the population increases and more vehicles take to the road, the likelihood of traffic accidents also rises. Over the last few years, Sarasota, Florida, has seen its fair share of traffic accidents, and the data we get from these tragedies tells an interesting story.
Intersections Continue To Be Risk Zones

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Traffic intersections, especially those with signals, are one area where crashes continue to show lead numbers. There are many reasons for this, such as people taking left turns too quickly without checking it is safe to maneuver or trying to beat red lights, speeding up rather than braking to a stop to wait for the next signal change. Unfortunately, this is also an area where both pedestrians on foot and cyclists can also be hit by motor vehicles since all three of these modes of transportation can gather at the same place.

However, some intersections, whether due to construction or location, tend to be more accident-prone than others. In Sarasota’s case, the corner of US 301 and University Parkway is one of the most dangerous intersections in the area. It’s a larger artery, with a total of three to four lanes for traffic in each direction and characterized by a very large crossing area.

From data compiled in 2020, this signal intersection alone experienced 41 traffic accidents, a big leap from the second most accident-prone signal intersection, University Parkway and Honore Avenue, at 35. Both are similar in having multi-lane traffic that significantly increases the risk of a small mistake or carelessness having a chain reaction.

Accident Causes

Sarasota County has three major factors influencing motor vehicle accidents, with two of them being a matter of location. They are:

Lane Changes

The area or circumstance where traffic accidents most often occur in Sarasota is known as “lane departures,” or, in other words, when drivers leave one traffic lane to enter another. This can happen for typical reasons such as needing to change lanes to get into the proper area for exiting or entering a highway or freeway, or it can be done while overtaking another driver.

It’s no surprise that lane departure is the #1 factor for accidents as this is a maneuver done in a moving vehicle while other vehicles are also on the move, requiring extra care and caution. If a lane departure is done too quickly, without checking for safety, colliding with another vehicle already in motion is very easy.

Intersections

As shown above, intersections are another high-risk area because so many vehicles are present, and not everyone is willing to drive in a safe, defensive manner. Whether trying to make a left turn before a signal change or taking a right turn quickly before checking for pedestrians crossing, with vehicles moving in different directions and no barriers between them, intersections can be a major site of accidents.

Age

Surprisingly, the third biggest cause of accidents in Sarasota is driver error due to aging drivers. While it’s a given that as people age, they may not retain their physical athleticism, this physical degradation can also affect driving performance. Someone who was once able to operate at high speeds confidently and change lanes instinctively can make more errors and lapses in judgment with age.

It’s not unusual for older drivers to lose focus or concentration while on the road or fail to see or hear other indicators that an accident is about to occur. In some cases, even if they perceive a road hazard, arthritis or other aging conditions have impacted reflexes that impair the ability to drive defensively.

Being Prepared

Florida is a “no-fault” state, meaning that in an accident where the costs of repairs, medical treatment, or even lost salary due to recovery are an issue, insurance companies will quickly act to cover up to $10000 of the total costs.

Unfortunately, this means that for more serious accidents that exceed $10000, people may have to consult with legal experts like car accident attorneys to get the full compensation they’re owed if negligence or other factors have injured them on the road through no fault of their own.

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