I recently wrote about a deadly crash that happened on Highway 21 in Jefferson County. For many years, that highway was known as “Blood Alley” due to the number of crashes resulting in serious injury that occurred on it. As the result of improvements, Highway 21 no longer is one of the five deadliest roads in the St. Louis area.
I’m sure that fact provides little solace to the family of Sharon Huff, the 58 year old woman who died in an August 31 crash on the highway. Or to those folks seriously injured on the five current deadliest roads in the St. Louis region.
Identified by a KSDK report earlier this year, the five deadliest roads are:
- Interstate 55, the 6 mile stretch from Butler Hill Road to Bayless Avenue
- Interstate 44, the 10 mile route between Fenton and Big Bend Road
- The Blanchette Bridge and surrounding area
- Interstate 70, from Mid Rivers Mall Drive to O’Fallon
- Highway 67 in Jefferson County, specifically a one mile stretch south of Interstate 55 featuring a number of curves and blind spots
KSDK Reporter Mike Rush, consulted with a reconstruction expert in his piece. The factors identified by the expert as the most frequent causes of collisions are not surprising. They are:
- Speed; specifically, motorists traveling too fast for the conditions
- Congestion; often related to the merging of multiple roadways at one point, resulting in some vehicles speeding up to enter a roadway while others slow in the process of exiting
- Distractions; motorist splitting their attention between the task at hand – driving – and something else, like texting, eating and reading
- Road construction and roadway design; particularly roadway layout providing little to no shoulder area, thereby limiting where a motorist can move her car to avoid or evade impact
These roadways demand your full attention. Pay attention to the challenges posed to drivers by the roadway. Focus on driving your vehicle and limit distractions by putting food, your phone and other distractions away from your reach. Help other drivers and inform them of your intention to change your vehicle’s direction, whether slowing, stopping, turning or changing lanes, by properly signaling. And slow down.
Matt Devoti is a partner with Casey & Devoti, a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm. He handles a variety of cases with a special emphasis on victims of distracted and impaired drivers. Matt and his law partner, Matt Casey, are authorized speakers for EndDD.org’s ‘End Distracted Driving’ Student Awareness Initiative.