The popularity of road trips surged in the US during the pandemic, when flights and airports weren’t the safest places. The trend didn’t fade away because road trips are about freedom, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Not to mention, road trippers in the country have endless options, from Chicago to LA to Phoenix to the Grand Canyon.
Missouri, with its stunning landscape, diverse attractions, and beautiful weather, is an acclaimed destination for road-trippers. However, the highways in the state are not the safest. According to 2021 statistics, the Missouri Highway Patrol reported more than 1,000 traffic crash deaths during the year. The numbers are just the tip of the iceberg because risks abound on the state’s roadways.
Before embarking on a journey, you should be aware of the risks on the Missouri highways. Awareness enables you to create a safety plan and enjoy an event-free road trip.
Here are a few safety risks road trippers may encounter on Missouri highways.
Road Infrastructure and Maintenance
Road infrastructure and maintenance are perhaps the most critical factors when it comes to safety for road trippers. Missouri has made massive investments in upgrading and maintaining its highways in recent years. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the biggest bridge investment in the state since the interstate highway system was constructed.
However, the quality of roads in Missouri still varies. Some rural routes are narrower and fall short of maintenance. The risks in these areas include construction zones, potential potholes, and uneven surfaces. Not navigating them carefully can lead to mishaps. Also, you must choose the safest routes while planning your road trip.
Another common concern on Missouri highways is heavy traffic congestion. Urban areas such as St. Louis and Kansas City have the highest risk, specifically when it comes to trucking traffic. Missouri recorded 162 commercial motor vehicle fatalities in 2022, with St. Louis being a forerunner in this context.
Being aware and taking a cautious approach can help you stay safe on these roads. Road trippers should avoid peak traffic hours and practice the rules of defensive driving. As a traveler, you should also know your legal rights if you get into a mishap. A St. Louis trucking accident lawyer can be your savior if your vehicle is hit by a commercial vehicle in this area.
TorHoerman Law states that trucking accidents are complex because of the involvement of multiple parties, such as the negligent driver and trucking company. Additionally, hiring a local lawyer is an advantage because they are aware of the state-specific laws and statutes of limitations.
Weather Conditions and Natural Hazards
Inclement weather and natural hazards can also affect your safety on the road during long trips. Missouri experiences extreme weather conditions during a few months of the year. These include severe storms and icy winters. These conditions may result in slippery surfaces, potential flooding, and low visibility.
The best way to address these risks is by checking weather forecasts before traveling. You should be prepared for adverse conditions if you choose to travel during wet and cold seasons. Additionally, consider natural hazards such as rockslides because they can happen unexpectedly.
Negligent Driver Behavior
You may be the best driver, but you cannot say the same about others. Forbes states that nearly 3,000 people in the US lose their lives to car accidents due to distracted driving. Besides texting and talking behind the wheel, drinking, using drugs, lack of vehicle maintenance, and breaking traffic rules are also instances of negligent behavior.
Road trippers should be vigilant about potential culprits and maintain safe distances from such drivers. You can even report such drivers to make the roads safe. Also, practice control over vehicles and stay focused on the roads to be on the safe side.
Law Enforcement and Regulations
While traffic laws and regulations aim to keep drivers safe, going against them can land you in a problem. Understanding Missouri’s traffic laws regarding speed limits, seat belt rules, and alcohol-related regulations can save you from potential legal risks.
Besides sticking with the traffic rules, you should also take rest breaks when required. Also, be aware of the rest area locations, emergency services, and fuel stations. Knowing the basic vehicle maintenance steps can help you deal with unexpected breakdowns.
Missouri is an incredible road trip destination for adventure buffs, but it has a fair share of risks and challenges. Ensuring a safe journey is possible if you are aware of the risks and manage them with proactive measures. By adopting safe driving practices, you can relish the scenic beauty of your route without stressing about a breakdown or a mishap.