Savannah is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Georgia. Saint Patrick’s Day sees the city packed, and the beautiful weather and historic sites bring visitors year-round to the oldest city in Georgia. Combine these visitors with the 390,000 who live in the metropolitan area, and it’s easy to see why traffic can easily become a nightmare.
The simple truth is that, because Savannah itself is such an old city, many of the streets aren’t designed to handle all the traffic they receive. Heavy traffic diversion is best left to the highways surrounding Chatham County, including Interstate 16, Interstate 95, U.S. Route 80, and more.
With so much traffic in Savannah and Chatham County, it’s important to know how to stay safe on the roads. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, understanding the following statistics and safety tips can help you keep your well-being intact.
What’s more, knowing who to turn to in the event of a wreck may help you get your life back on track more quickly. The Savannah car accident attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers are here for you. Call us at 912-225-4600 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Car Accidents in Chatham County
In 2016, there were a total of 15,806 car wrecks in Chatham County. Of those accidents, there were 3,760 reported with injuries. In addition, there were 43 fatalities, accounting for about 3 percent of all road fatalities reported in Georgia. That leaves Chatham County ranked 6th in the state for the most fatalities. However, there were 54 roadway fatalities in the county in 2015. Between 2015 and 2016, roadway fatalities decreased by 20 percent.
Alcohol-related accidents accounted for 14 of the roadway fatalities in 2016 — about 33 percent of all Chatham County roadway fatalities. In addition, nine of the fatalities were caused by speed-related car accidents, accounting for about 21 percent of reported fatalities.
Of the 43 roadway fatalities in 2016, 31 were passengers instead of drivers. Fifteen of those passengers were wearing seat belts, while seven weren’t. For nine of the passenger fatalities, it was unclear whether they were wearing a seat belt or not.
That year, there were also two motorcyclist fatalities. There were seven pedestrian fatalities and three bicyclist fatalities.
Where Car Accidents Happen in Chatham County
One of the most dangerous highways in Georgia is one that leads straight to Savannah: Interstate 16. The most dangerous section is from U.S. 280 to Savannah. In 2015, 28 people were killed on this highway, 18 of which were involved in an accident with a semi-truck.
In the City of Savannah itself, there were nearly 10,000 car accidents reported at intersections in 2017. Of those, the most dangerous wrecks happened at:
- (Tied) Abercorn Street and White Bluff Road
1. (Tied) Intersections at I-16 and Chatham Parkway
3. King George Boulevard and Abercorn Street
4. Abercorn Street and Rio Road
5. DeRenne Avenue and Truman Parkway
6. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and 37th Street
Surprisingly, the most common time for car accidents at intersections in Savannah wasn’t during morning rush hour. Instead, about half of all dangerous accidents at intersections happened from noon to 6 p.m. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 96 percent of all intersection crashes are the driver’s fault, often related to distracted driving.
Infographic: How to Stay Safe in Chatham County
Avoiding Car Accidents in Chatham County
Dealing with traffic in Chatham County can be a nightmare. Locals often take their time getting to where they’re going, tourists may drive slowly because they don’t know where they’re going or how Savannah’s streets are laid out and accounting for pedestrians and bicyclists only compounds the problem.
With all of these factors, it’s crucial you know how to drive safely to avoid becoming another car wreck statistic in Chatham County:
1. Put Down the Phone
Distracted driving is one of the biggest and most dangerous problems on Chatham County’s roads today. In 2018, Georgia passed a hands-free law that prohibits drivers from having their phone touching any part of their body while they’re driving. Even so, many drivers may be tempted to ignore this new law, since the fine for the first offense is only $50 and 1 point on their license.
Taking your eyes from the road to read or answer a text message can mean you’re driving blind for the length of a football field or more. Even answering the phone without using your hands and holding a conversation can be dangerous. The solution is simple: Put down the phone while you’re driving!
2. Be Patient with Other Drivers
Even the calmest drivers can experience road rage. We’ve all been there: you had a bad day at work, traffic is slow, it seems no one is using their turn signals, and now someone cut you off. It’s enough to even make a monk angry. Even so, it’s up to you to control your emotions and drive calmly and safely. Road rage can quickly lead to an accident.
If you feel road rage coming on, try turning on relaxing music and concentrating on your breathing. The more you focus on what’s making you angry, the angrier you’ll become. If you can’t help getting angry, avoid taking it out on other drivers. Instead, simply focus on where you’re going and getting there safely.
3. Leave Space for You to Brake
One of the most common issues, especially on the highway, is following too closely to the driver in front of you. If they suddenly stop, you’re probably going to rear-end them — and that accident will most likely be considered your fault. The easiest way to avoid causing a rear-end collision is to leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.
You should have at least a three-second cushion between you and the car in front. You can measure this by choosing a landmark, like a street sign, then counting how long it takes for you to pass it after the car in front of you passed it. If another vehicle cuts in front of you, slow down to create that three-second gap again.
Talk to a Savannah Car Accident Lawyer Today
No matter how safely you drive, there’s always the risk that you will be involved in a collision. When it happens, you have legal rights, especially if the wreck wasn’t your fault. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, our Savannah car accident attorneys know how to help you get the full compensation you deserve.
Call us today at 912-225-4600 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll review the details of your car accident and any settlement offer you may have received from the insurance company, and help you decide if you want to pursue further compensation. Before you accept that settlement check from your insurer, call us to see if we can get you more money.