When you talk to young drivers in specific, they will often tell you that they are nervous to drive on the interstate. The high speeds are concerning to them and it seems more dangerous.
But is this fear justified? Is the interstate actually more dangerous than taking smaller surface roads?
The interstate is the safest place to drive
There are those who would say that the interstate is actually one of the safest places that you can have a drive. Because of the way that traffic is controlled – drivers are all getting on and off the road at specified points, and all traffic is moving in the same direction – it is less likely that car accidents are going to occur. Head-on accidents almost never happen, except in cases involving wrong-way drivers.
Then why does it feel frightening?
So why is it that people are more worried on the interstate? It’s simply that the higher speed feels more dangerous. You are actually in more danger driving slower if there’s a chance that someone is going to turn in front of you or drift over the centerline and cause an accident – two things that can’t happen on the interstate. But the slower speeds make you feel like you could respond to a hazard in time, whereas the higher speeds of the interstate make you feel like everything is out of your control.
It’s also worth noting that some individuals suffer from a condition known as tachophobia, which is a general fear of speed. For them, especially when they just start driving, merely going faster triggers this fear. They may intellectually know that accidents are less common and that they are actually safer than they are driving at lower speeds on surface roads, but the phobia doesn’t necessarily respond to that knowledge. The fear they feel is still quite real.
What if you do get involved in an accident?
It may be true that the interstate is one of the safest places to drive, but you can still be injured in an accident anywhere. If you do get hurt as a result of mistakes made by another driver, you may be able to seek financial compensation.