One thing that is consistent in traffic congestion is the high likelihood that it will contribute to a serious motor vehicle accident. It is not uncommon for people to get into a crash, even when traffic seems to be at a standstill. But drivers can distracted in traffic and may be unprepared to stop for slowing traffic, or they may get very frustrated and end up rear-ending someone or making a risky maneuver that puts others in danger. 

Recently, drivers in Pennsylvania may have become quite upset when a major traffic delay happened because state police had set up a checkpoint in the HOV, or high-occupancy vehicle, lane on I-279. Police had set up the checkpoint to cite drivers who were unlawfully driving in the lane and managed to cite dozens of drivers for the infraction.

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However, some folks argued that the checkpoint created a very serious hazard for motorists in the other lanes and was not worth the police activity. People stopped or slowed down to see what was happening at the checkpoint, which is behavior commonly referred to as rubbernecking, and ended up causing some significant problems for everyone on the road.

Congestion can be frustrating for nearly every driver, but perhaps more so for the people who end up getting injured in a car accident because of another driver who got anxious or distracted behind the wheel. Even when traffic is stopped or moving slowly, drivers are expected to operate their vehicles safely and stay focused on the road. If and when they do not, they can cause an accident and serious injuries for which they can be held accountable.

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Source: Post-Gazette, “State police created a hazard by ticketing on underused HOV,” Sept. 15, 2013

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