Now famous due to a segment of it partially collapsing after a fire, Georgia's Interstate 85 (I-85) is one of the state's busiest and most travelled roads. It connects Georgia to Alabama as well as connecting Georgia to South Carolina. It runs through Atlanta, along with I-75, and it provides a direct route to the city for many locals who live in the greater-Atlanta area. As one of the most congested and crowded roads in Georgia, accidents and hazards are common on I-85. Odds are, if you have been hurt in an accident in Atlanta, you were probably hurt in an accident on I-85. In the Atlanta city limits the Georgia Department of Transportation reported an average of 223,000 vehicles per day using I-85 in 2016, a 4.21 percent increase from the previous year.
Other sections of I-85 outside of Atlanta are also seeing a climb in use. Coweta County, just west of Atlanta, has had an estimated increase in population from 89,215 residents in 2000 to 140,526 residents in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau. This population increase has caused a rise in traffic along the I-85 stretch in Coweta County, resulting in an uptick in accidents and injuries. This past June in Coweta County, an F-350 truck transporting livestock was travelling on Interstate 85 and collided into a tractor trailer. The driver of the F-350 attempted to change lanes, and after neglecting to see the tractor trailer became wedged underneath it. The occupants of the F-350 included a 29-year-old drive and two passengers. The driver of the tractor trailer and livestock were unharmed, however the F-350 driver as well as one of his passengers had to be flown by air ambulance to the hospital due to injuries related to the accident.
The US Census Bureau also estimates that on average residents in Coweta County spend 30.5 minutes on their commute to work. With that much time spent in the car, driving on a crowded interstate after a long day can be hazardous. Remembering to check blind spots, mirrors, and other lanes before making a lane change could be the difference between making it home safely and an accident like the one above. As cities such as Newnan, Lawrenceville, and Braselton continue to see rises in population, I-85 will also see increases in congestion and hazardous conditions, requiring alert driving from all of those who use I-85 on a daily basis.