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Alternate routes may increase your car accident risk

If you live in the Denver-metro area, there is a good chance you experienced some interruptions in your travel plans when a giant fissure opened up on U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder. The sinkhole closed both lanes of the highway, forcing motorists to drive an alternate route to work, home and elsewhere. 

Taking a different path to your intended destination may be either an adventure or an annoyance. Unfortunately, though, you may have an increased risk of a car accident when driving an alternate route. Here are three reasons car collisions tend to happen in unfamiliar places. 

1. Driving through construction zones 

You may feel like you can drive your commute while wearing a blindfold. While that is a bad idea, it does expose some truths about familiarity. When you drive on roadways you understand, you know when to merge, exit and stop. That is not necessarily the case with alternate routes. Additionally, in construction zones, cones and reworked traffic patterns can be hazardous. Either way, if you want to avoid an automobile collision, you must be vigilant when driving in unfamiliar areas. 

2. Dealing with congested roadways 

When CDOT officials closed parts of U.S. 36, traffic congestion spilled over onto county roadways. As you may suspect, smaller roads are often incapable of handling large numbers of vehicles. If you drive on roads that tend to see fewer vehicles, you must understand how hazardous intersections and open stretches may become. 

3. Falling behind schedule 

Finally, if you have to take an alternate route, you may fall behind schedule. According to the World Health Organization, an increase in speed of just one kilometer per hour enhances accident risk by roughly 3%. Being late for an appointment is never worth risking your personal safety. 

If a road you plan to take closes, you may have no choice but to take an alternate route. Still, because alternate routes may increase your chances of an automobile accident, you should understand why accidents on them tend to occur.

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