Out of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. for motorists, Buffalo holds the Number Six spot. According to Insurify, nearly 16.5 percent of all drivers in the Buffalo area have prior accidents on their record, with a DUI rate of 1.3 percent and an average commute time of 21 minutes. Of the nearly fifty people who are killed in motor vehicle accidents in Erie County every year, 18 are passengers.
The grim statistics do not end there. Annually, an average of 446 people wind up in the hospital because of traffic mishaps. Overall, the New York State Department of Health reports that automobile crashes account for ten percent of all deaths in Erie County, and are the third-leading cause of hospitalizations.
Where the Accidents Are
What follows is a survey of the most hazardous roads and intersections in Buffalo and surrounding areas of Erie County.
1. Niagara Falls Boulevard
In October 2018, an article from the website OnlyInYourState.com identified this stretch of road as the deadliest in western New York. Three years later, nothing had changed, despite proposals to the state Department of Transportation by the communities of AmhersTonawandaowanda. In September 2021, Buffalo News reported that eight traffic fatalities had occurred between 56th and 72nd Streets over a nine-year period. There was also a high number of cycling and pedestrian accidents.
Part of the reason is the sheer amount of traffic in the area, Niagara Falls Boulevard is surrounded by commercial establishments and a large shopping mall. There is also heavy commuter traffic on any given day. Police report no discernable pattern or overriding cause of these accidents, but there are a number of factors involved that include poorly marked pedestrian crosswalks, inadequate lighting and speeding. A survey by the Amherst Police Department found that one-fifth of the motorists traveling along Niagara Falls Boulevard regularly exceed the road’s posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour.
Located in Orchard Park, this is where three major thoroughfares meet: Lake Avenue, Southwestern Boulevard and Orchard Park Road. Like Niagara Falls Boulevard, this intersection sees heavy traffic, particularly during rush hour. Most of western New York’s most serious motor vehicle accidents take place at Five Corners.
Transit Road and Maple Road/Greiner Road
Yet another intersection that is heavily traveled, the place where Transit Road meets Maple and Greiner also sees a high number of injury accidents. There are several intersections along Transit that see collisions, but this particular one is the worst.
Niagara Falls Boulevard and Maple Road
Located near a large shopping mall and numerous eating establishments, this intersection sees an almost constant stream of motorists. It poses serious risks for unwary pedestrians as well.
Union Road and Williams Street
Located in Cheektowaga, the junction where Union Road meets Williams Street accounts for a high percentage of the area’s fatal collisions. Congestion is severe during rush hour, and the traffic signal at Losson has little effect on relieving the problem.
Southwestern Boulevard and McKinley Parkway
A very short green light for turns temps too many drivers to speed up in attempts to avoid the extended wait, while causing traffic to back up as motorists attempt to turn on to McKinley. This makes the intersection one of the most hazardous in the area.
Common Types of Traffic Accidents
Road accidents fall into five major categories. There are also ways to avoid being a victim or causing one, all of which boil down to the practice of safe and defensive driving techniques.
Rear End Collisions
The most frequent type of collision, “rear-enders” result from tailgating or following too closely. Not surprisingly, rear end collisions account for a quarter of all road accidents. They can be avoided by allowing sufficient stopping distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead. The rule of thumb is to allow one car length for every ten miles per hour of speed. If you are in front, avoid slamming on the brakes suddenly.
More commonly known as a “T-Bone” accident, these happen frequently at intersections. Statistics also show that side impacts cause the most serious accident injuries. Avoid this serious collision by never venturing into an intersection before cross traffic has come to a full stop, because motorists frequently run red lights and stop signs.
A head-on collision is almost always fatal. These happen for a number of reasons, but the most frequent cause is a fatigued, intoxicated or distracted driver who drifts over the median or center line. Be constantly aware of oncoming traffic, and avoid operating a motor vehicle when fatigued, taking medication or after consuming alcohol.
These are caused by drivers making improper or sudden lane changes, failing to signal, or simply not being aware. What they taught in driver’s education is true: do not trust your mirrors when changing lanes. Look behind you whenever possible, and always signal your intentions.
Single Car Accidents
The majority of these accidents involve drivers who are inexperienced or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You can protect yourself by obeying speed limits and adjusting your speed for weather and road conditions.`
If You Are in an Accident
Even if you believe yourself to be responsible, do not admit fault. Even though New York is a no-fault insurance state, that only means that each party’s insurer covers the insured’s medical costs. You can still be sued for property loss and non-economic damages. Furthermore, insurance companies will try to find any excuse to reduce a claim or even deny it altogether. This is why it is important to retain legal counsel. Insurance companies will pressure you to sign documents; do not sign anything until a personal injury attorney has had an opportunity to examine it. If you are the victim and the plaintiff, be aware that there is a three-year statute of limitations on injury claims, so start yours at the earliest opportunity.
The Buffalo injury attorneys at Cellino Law have won more than $2 billion in settlements for their clients. We offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation. There are no up-front fees, and we get paid only if we win your case.