Columbia Road Safety Overview

Columbia Road Safety Overview

Driving in South Carolina can be surprisingly dangerous. In 2022, there were a total of 1,094 traffic-related deaths throughout the state. This is a slight decrease from the 1,198 fatalities recorded in 2021. As one of South Carolina’s most populous cities, you might expect that a significant number of these deaths would have occurred in Columbia.

The risk of dying in a Columbia traffic accident may not be as great as you might expect, but this does not mean driving in Columbia is risk-free. However, by understanding the actual risks you face on Columbia’s road, you are better able to drive in a manner best calculated to safeguard you and your loved ones.

The Risk Of Injury And Death In Columbia Motor Vehicle Accidents

South Carolina’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that 2,975 individuals sustained serious injuries in accidents throughout the state in 2021. Another 50,621 people suffered less serious injuries. In Richland County, the Columbia Police Department only reported 20 people killed, 57 seriously hurt, and 1,671 who suffered a less severe injury.

In nearby Lexington County, the Columbia Police Department recorded zero fatalities, four serious injuries, and 48 less severe injuries. Finally, the West Columbia Police Department’s records show the jurisdiction saw two deaths, 13 serious injuries, and 144 other injuries.

Taken together between these three law enforcement agencies, Columbia experienced 22 deaths, 118 individuals seriously hurt, and about 1,863 other types of injuries. This means that Columbia was responsible for:

  • Approximately 1.6% of the state’s traffic fatalities
  • Slightly less than 4.0% of the state’s car accident serious injury victims
  • About 3.6% of the state’s other motor vehicle injury cases

These statistics reveal that out of 100 fatality victims, fewer than two of them died in Columbia. Similarly, out of every 100 serious injury and other injury victims, respectively, only about four of each group suffered their injury in Columbia.

Greenville County experienced the greatest number of traffic collisions during 2021 and registered the highest number of fatal accidents. McCormick County had the lowest number of traffic collisions of any type, and Allendale County had the fewest fatal accidents.

Other Characteristics Of Richland County Car Accidents

Within Richland County, a traffic accident is more likely to occur on the following roads and at the below-listed intersections. These Richland County roads where accidents are more likely to happen include:

  • US-1: Site of 1,071 traffic collisions in 2021
  • US-76: Saw 1,052 wrecks of all types
  • I-20: Was the site of 873 crashes
  • US-176: Location of 674 crashes, including those that caused injury to others
  • US-21: Site where 674 collisions took place 

The most dangerous intersections in Richland County, according to DPS, include:

  • I-20 at US-176
  • I-26 at US-176
  • I-20 at SC-215
  • SC 12 at I-77
  • I-20 and I-26

Drivers who must travel through these areas would do well to exercise greater caution. While motor vehicle accidents can and have occurred away from these areas, they are areas and locations where a driver faces an elevated risk of a crash.

Factors Contributing To South Carolina Traffic Accidents

DPS’s data also revealed the actions and behaviors of drivers most likely to lead to injuries and deaths. The following primary contributing factors were identified as leading to the greatest number of injury accidents and fatality accidents. The list included:

Driving Too Fast For Road Conditions

Speed limits are meant to establish a hard limit beyond which you should not travel on a particular road. They are not meant to suggest a speed that is safe and prudent on that road at all times. It is expected that you will adjust your speed and go slower during inclement weather and when traffic volume is high.

Over 40,000 traffic accidents of all types were caused by drivers who did not adjust their speed to account for road conditions. Of this number, 265 collisions resulted in at least one death, and 9,284 injured someone.

Driving Under The Influence

Motorists who operate their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs suffer from impaired judgment and decision-making, increased reaction time, and a decreased ability to perceive hazards. An impaired driver is less likely to see the other person and react promptly and responsibly to avoid an accident.

Across South Carolina, 233 fatal collisions and 2,422 injury accidents resulted from impaired driving.

Failing To Yield The Right Of Way

Right-of-way rules govern the movement of traffic when two or more streets converge at a single point. Where traffic lights or signs are present, drivers are to follow their directions to safely navigate the intersection. Otherwise, drivers must refer to the “rules of the road” to know who gets to proceed ahead of whom.

In 2021, 124 fatal traffic accidents in South Carolina were caused by drivers who failed to yield the right of way. This same factor was the primary cause of another 8,978 injury collisions.

Driving On The Wrong Side Of The Road

There are several reasons why motorists might choose to drive down the wrong side of the road. One reason is that they might miss seeing a sign warning them of one-way traffic, especially at night or during inclement weather. Likewise, impaired drivers are likely to miss seeing signs advising of a one-way street.

Sixty-five fatal collisions and 820 injury accidents were the result of drivers traveling the wrong way down a street. 

How To Stay Safe On Columbia’s Roads

Driving in Columbia can still present dangers, even if the risk of severe injury or death is low. Paying attention to one’s location and exercising greater care around areas with a high frequency of collisions can help prevent you from being involved in an accident yourself. 

You should also avoid high-risk behaviors like driving while impaired, speeding, and not following right-of-way rules. If you are involved in an accident, consulting with a Columbia car accident lawyer can be crucial in navigating the legal complexities and ensuring you receive proper compensation for any injuries or damages.

Do you have questions about road safety in your city?,  Contact us and we’ll get back to you.

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