A recent car crash on Minnesota Highway 169 (discussed below) highlights the dangers of divided highways.
Dangers of Divided Highways
Divided highway intersections are traditionally very dangerous. Oftentimes a driver making a left-turn needs to clear 4+ lanes of traffic. It can be difficult to gauge speed of traffic headed in different directions. Inexperienced drivers may find this especially difficult. To further complicate the maneuver, lighting at these intersections can be poor, further inhibiting drivers. Slick road conditions or low visibility further elevate the risk of crashes. The vehicle attempting to turn is often “t-boned” meaning point of impact is on the broadside of the vehicle rather than the front or rear. Depending on speed and the point of impact, one or both vehicles can spin out of control into other lanes of traffic, rollover, or crumple.
In an attempt to reduce risk of these incidents, state transportation departments are constructing a new type of turn called reduced conflict intersection (RCI), or a J-turn. With the J-turn, the intersection is broken down to a series of unidirectional turns so the driver only makes right turns and U-turns. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDot) these intersections can reduce fatalities by 70% and injury crashes by 42%. Watch the video for a better understanding of how these intersections work.
In Minnesota you can find RCIs at the following intersections:
- County Rd. 24, Willmar
- Hwy 169 and County Rd. 3, Belle Plaine
- Hwy 10 and County Rd. 8, Becker
- Hwy 169 and 173rd St., Jordan
- Hwy 212 and Hwy 284 in Cologne
- Hwy 65 and 169th Ave, Ham Lake
- Hwy 53 and County Rd. 52, Cotton
- Hwy 36 and Demontreville Trail, Lake Elmo
Our team of attorneys has decades of experience litigating highway crashes. If you would like to talk to someone about your potential case you can call 1-888-377-8900.
A 2000 Chevy Malibu was traveling southbound on highway 169 near mile post 97 in Saint Lawrence of Scott County, MN when the young driver attempted a left-hand turn, transversing the northbound lanes. A northbound 2014 Honda CRV, with two children passengers, made impact with the Malibu, striking the car broadside. The Honda rolled over and wound up in the northbound ditch. Thankfully none of the four people in the vehicle sustained serious injuries.
The Chevy Malibu struck the median and caught fire. The Minnesota State Patrol states the Chevy 18-year old driver has serious injuries, and the two adults and two children in the Honda suffered non-life threatening injuries.