Polk County’s Most Dangerous Roads

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Nestled in the heart of Florida, Polk County boasts picturesque landscapes, quaint towns, and vibrant communities. Like any other community, however, Polk County has its share of dangerous roadways and intersections. For pedestrians, Polk County is particularly dangerous, having been designated as the ninth most dangerous metro area in the U.S. for pedestrians, according to Smart Growth of America, Dangerous by Design. Although it is unlikely that you can completely steer clear of all the county’s most perilous roadways, knowing where they are can help heighten your awareness and potentially avert an accident.

Being a cautious and conscientious driver pays off year around; however, it can be even more beneficial during the summer (June, July, and August) as the increased traffic during the summer makes it the deadliest season for motorists. In an effort to help you driver safely and arrive at your destination without incident, Polk County injury lawyer Adam Kemp shares a list of Polk County’s most dangerous roads.

Dangerous Roadways and Intersections in Polk County

Numerous studies have underscored the hazardous conditions prevalent on Florida’s highways and highlighting the Florida disproportionately high number of motor vehicle accidents that happen in the Sunshine State. A recent report even identified three of the nation’s deadliest roads and highways that are located in Florida, namely U.S. Route 1, Interstate 4, and Interstate 95. Residents of Polk County are already aware of the ever-present danger of entering and exiting Interstate 4. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLSMV), there were 13,619 motor vehicle accidents in Polk County in 2023, resulting in 163 fatalities and over 10,000 injuries. Roadways and intersections throughout Polk County to be aware of when navigating the county’s roadways include:

  • S. 27 and State Road 540: The rural location of this intersection can lead motorists to speed or fail to obey traffic laws, increasing the likelihood of a collision.
  • South Florida Avenue at Lake Miriam Drive: Located in a popular commercial area within Lakeland, this intersection is heavily traveled. In addition, motorists can find it challenging to transition from the smaller Lake Miriam Dr. to the larger South Florida Avenue.
  • Griffin Rd. and 98 N.: This intersection sees considerable traffic daily, a factor that alone increases the likelihood of an accident. In addition, drivers often speed through the intersection trying to catch the light, putting other motorists in danger.
  • Memorial Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue: When two primary thoroughfares meet, traffic frequently gets congested, and accidents occur. Memorial Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue, in addition to being major roadways, are also located close to Bryant Stadium, often creating a bottleneck around the intersection.
  • Harden Boulevard and Oakbridge Parkway: As the primary artery for entering and existing Lakeside Village, a popular shopping mall in Lakeside, this intersection sees considerable traffic on a regular basis. The number of vehicles that go through the intersection and the fact that drivers are often distracted increase the likelihood of a crash.
  • US-98/N. Florida Ave. and US-92/Memorial Blvd.: This intersection, located just south of Bryant Stadium, sees significant traffic daily. When an event is happening at the stadium, motorists can speed and drive recklessly trying to get to the stadium and may be impatient going through the intersection after an event when traffic tends to crawl through the intersection.
  • Lakeland Hill Blvd. and Interstate 4: Entrance and exit ramps onto major interstates tend to be inherently dangerous. In Polk County, the entrance and exit from/to Lakeland Hills Blvd. and I-4 is particularly dangerous because motorists unfamiliar with the area frequently have a difficult time navigating the traffic patterns.
  • Martin L. King, Jr. Ave. and US-92/Memorial Blvd. This area can be problematic for motorists because Martin L. King Jr. Ave. transitions from a relatively quiet road up north to a much more heavily traveled roadway after it passes Memorial Blvd.
  • Crystal Lake Dr. and US-98/Bartow Rd.: Motorists can find it difficult to transition into the flow of traffic on the faster moving US-98 from the slower traffic found on Crystal Lake Dr.
  • Florida Ave. and Beacon Rd.: Restaurants, retail stores, and even a fire station add to the challenges motorists face when traversing this intersection, increasing the likelihood of a collision.

How Can I Prevent a Car Accident in Polk County?

To mitigate the risk of a car accident in Polk County, try to avoid routes that include well-known dangerous intersections. In addition, consider implementing these additional measures:

  • Adopt defensive driving techniques: Stay vigilant of other vehicles and road conditions. Regularly check mirrors for surrounding dangers and scan ahead for obstacles or erratic drivers. This proactive approach enables timely responses to avoid accidents.
  • Maintain safe following distances: Avoid tailgating by ensuring there is ample space between your vehicle and the one ahead and the one behind you (when possible). This allows for sufficient reaction time to potential hazards for both you and the driver behind you, reducing the likelihood of a collision.
  • Eliminate distractions: Even before cell phones became a problem, distracted driving was a problem. Now, about one in 10 collisions include a distracted driver. To decrease the likelihood of being involved in a crash, avoid using your cell phone, eating, or applying makeup while driving and minimize interactions with passengers or pets to maintain focus on the road.
  • Stay vigilant and rested: Night driving significantly increases accident risks, so limit driving during nighttime hours whenever possible. Additionally, avoid extended driving sessions, as drowsiness can impair reaction times. In fact, studies show that a drowsy driver’s reaction time can be compared to that of a motorist who is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Polk County Assist Me?

Despite taking precautionary measures, being involved in a car accident in Polk County can still occur. If you find yourself in a car accident, you may suffer physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial strain as a result. Fortunately, legal recourse allows you to seek compensation from another party if that party’s negligence caused, in whole or in part, the collision. Moreover, you don’t have to navigate the legal system alone. A skilled Polk County injury lawyer from Kemp Personal Injury Law can help. We are dedicated to using our expertise and resources to ensure just and equitable compensation from the responsible party or parties. Contact the team today for your free initial consultation by calling 863-225-0254 or by filling out our convenient online contact form.

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