The Baltimore Washington suburban corridor in central Maryland has changed dramatically over the last few decades. The 30 mile stretch along I-95 connecting the two cities has become one of the most densely developed and populated areas in the entire country. This intense suburbanization has generated a massive volume of vehicle traffic and transformed the roadways in central Maryland.
Columbia in Howard County is one of the areas in the Baltimore Washington corridor that has undergone the most dramatic change during this period. In the early 1990s, Columbia was still felt like the isolated “planned community” that it was originally designed to be.
Today, however, Columbia is the second largest town in Maryland with a population of well over 100,000. The volume of vehicle traffic and nature of the roadways in Columbia have followed a similar pattern of development. What used to be single-lane roads with stop signs have evolved into 4 or even 6 lanes commercial routes clogged with traffic lights.
Auto Accidents in Columbia
The increase in traffic volume in Columbia has, naturally, resulted in a massive increase in the number of traffic accidents. Over 75% of all traffic accidents in Howard County occur in the Columbia/Ellicott City area. As Columbia auto accident lawyers, we have our finger on the pulse of the auto accident scene in Columbia. This gives us a very unique perspective on what the most dangerous intersections and roads in Columbia and Howard County are. In this post, we will rank the most hazardous intersections in Columbia in terms of traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Columbia’s Most Dangerous Roads Intersections
There are several factors that can contribute to the danger of an intersection, including:
- high traffic volumes
- poor road design
- visibility problems, and
- distracted or aggressive driving.
Below is a list of what we believe to be the most hazardous roads and intersections for traffic accidents in Columbia. This list is based on data from the Maryland Department of Transportation and our anecdotal information as Columbia accident attorneys.
- Ridge Road & Route 40: The intersection of Route 40 and Ridge Road is an awkward mess of on-ramps, off-ramps, angled left turns, and traffic lights that play host to an incredibly high volume oftraffic. The intersection is right next to the juncture of Route 29 and Route 40 and Ridge Road is the entrance to a massive super Walmart, a big grocery store, and a huge condominium complex. This intersection has a long history of accidents. 15 years ago, the County was forced to install another traffic light to deal with the excessive number of accidents. The traffic light helped a little, but it hardly solved the problem and this continues to be one of the most dangerous intersections in the area.
- Snowden River Parkway: Snowden River Pkwy runs for about 10 miles and connects Route 100 in the north to Broken Land Parkway (and Route 32) in the south. In the early 1990s, Snowden River was basically a ghost town on the far outskirts of Columbia, with only a single traffic light and a Coast Guard warehouse. Since then, however, Snowden river has been a fertile breeding ground for “big box” retail development and condominium clusters. Every inch of this road is now occupied by major shopping centers, car dealers, and most recently a Wegmans (with a double-deck parking garage that lets out directly onto the road). What makes Snowden River uniquely dangerous is that thru traffic moves almost at highway speed, despite all the congestion and vehicles turning on and off. Left-turn collisions across oncoming traffic are a major threat on this road.
- Dobbin Road & Dobbin Center: Anyone familiar with the Dobbin Center strip mall knows exactly why this intersection is on our list. This intersection forms the primary point of entry for this incredibly large and busy shopping center. Almost all traffic entering the shopping center gets funneled into a left turn lane (with 3 turning lanes) controlled by a green arrow signal. This creates a bottleneck that often spills out onto the other roads and prompts. Fortunately, most of the accidents at this intersection are low speed and not very serious.
- Route 32 & Broken Land Parkway: the intersection of Route 32 and Broken Land Parkway is a high-volume interchange that features a traditional clover-loop style entrance and exit ramp system. What makes this juncture uniquely difficult, however, is the entrance ramp from Broken Land to northbound 32. The ramp enters 32 less than a quarter-mile before 32 intersects Route 29 and a large volume of traffic exits. As a result, traffic entering from Broken Land has almost no merge area at all. If you don’t hit the ramp at just the right time, you basically have to come to a complete stop and merge into 70 mpg traffic, much of which is exiting overtop of you. It has been a recipe for disaster for years.
Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers
If you need a personal injury lawyer in Columbia, MD, contact Miller & Zois today at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.