While all roads in America and Florida can be dangerous, some are notoriously treacherous for drivers. For example, particular stretches of State Road 26 in Florida make it one of the worst roads for motorists in this area.

Whether your motor vehicle accident happened on this or another Florida road, discuss your accident and injuries with a well-versed Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible. You might recover financial compensation for your losses.

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About State Road 26

State Road 26 (SR 26) is a 62-mile-long-route running east—west across North Central Florida. SR 26 is called Newberry Road on the west side of Gainesville and University Avenue in downtown Gainesville.

You can find its western terminus at U.S. 19/98/27 Alternate in Fanning Springs, located near the Gilchrist/Levy County line, traveling through Lottieville and Wilcox. SR 26 then travels through Trenton, where it is called West Wade Street and East Wade Street.

Next, it runs into Alachua County and Newberry, known as West Newberry Road. Here the road briefly goes through Newberry’s historic district, then intersects with U.S. 27-41 and continues with its same street name as it travels through the communities of Jonesville and Tioga. Just west of Gainesville, it encounters the interchange with Interstate 75.

SR 26 then runs straight east until the intersection with Northwest 57th Street, curving to the southeast. It still keeps the same street name until it approaches State Road 26A, where West Newberry follows onto Southwest Second Avenue and SR 26 moves onto University Avenue.

East of President’s Park, the highway runs along the northern boundary of the University of Florida campus alongside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, soon merging with SR 24 at U.S. Route 441 (13th Street) and SR 20 at former SR 329 (Main Street). However, it separates again near the eastern city limits.

It then skirts the western shores of Newnans Lake State Forest, approaching the lake’s northern shores and entering the Newnans Lake Conservation Area.

From there, it turns sharply to the right at the eastern terminus of SR 222. After the preserve area, SR 26 goes through farmland and later crosses U.S. 301 in Orange Heights. Melrose is the next town along its route, where it enters the community’s historic district, crossing the Alachua-Putnam County line and intersecting with SR 21. The highway then curves to the northeast, ending at SR 100 in Putnam Hall.

About University Avenue

University Avenue is one of the main east-west arteries running through Gainesville. Over the years, it progressed from a dirt road into a four-lane highway surrounding UF’s campus. Today, it’s the heart of the UF community, with its north side boasting nightlife, complete with a complex of bars, clubs, late-night restaurants, and an increasing number of student apartments. The road’s sidewalks are filled with pedestrians day and night, thanks to Midtown and the UF campus.

With so much motor and foot traffic, University Avenue is one of the most dangerous roads for pedestrians in Gainesville. Since 2016, it’s had the highest number of the city’s pedestrian crashes—70, seven of which were fatal, according to the Gainesville Police Department.

It ties for first place with Waldo Road as the deadliest road in Gainesville. Crashes on this stretch of SR 26 are also more likely to result in incapacitating injuries. Accidents here resulted in 12 incapacitating injuries in the past five years—the most of any road in the entire City of Gainesville. One of the most dangerous areas on this stretch of road is West University Avenue and Northwest 22nd Street.

Dangerous Areas Along SR 26 (Newberry Road)

Newberry Road and NW 75th St

The Newberry area directly around the on- and off-ramps for I-75 is one of the most dangerous places on SR 26. It’s one of the most heavily trafficked in the Gainesville area during rush hour. In fact, most locals know to avoid the area if at all possible.

Many accidents here arise from the confusing merge lanes, heavy congestion that frequently blocks intersections following yellow and red lights, and the fact that this road is the main route for many people who live West of Gainesville, including the city of Newberry.

In addition, continuing development along Newberry Road between Interstate 75 and 143rd Street in Jonesville continues to increase traffic to dangerous levels, making it difficult for residential traffic. Some residents say it’s almost impossible and increasingly dangerous to exit neighborhoods during certain times of the day.

Newberry Road at 143rd Street

Left turns from Newberry Road at 143rd Street can be made on a green light when it is clear to do so, called a permissive movement. Drivers can also turn left on a green arrow or a protected movement.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the standard is to remove the permissive movement from an intersection if there are at least six crashes per year for the left turn. However, this hasn’t happened because there has only been an average of three crashes at this intersection per year involving vehicles turning left onto SW 143rd Street for the last several years.

Other dangerous areas on Newberry Road include:

  • Northwest 98th Street and Newberry Road
  • Newbery Road between Pearl Street and Southwest 260th Street
  • Newberry Road and U.S. 301

Causes of Car Accidents on State Road 26

Most car accidents happen due to human error or negligence. Here are the most common causes of car accidents in State Road 26:

Distracted Driving

Drivers often do other things than driving while behind the wheel. Distracted driving occurs anytime the driver takes their attention away from driving. Texting or operating a cell phone while driving, programming a GPS, eating while driving, talking to passengers in the car, looking for something in the, and even looking at something on the side of the road.

Distracted driving is negligence and is grounds for compensation after a motor vehicle accident. A well-versed car accident attorney knows what it takes to prove the other driver was distracted when they caused your accident.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

When someone drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs, everyone on the road is at risk. Intoxicated drivers have a significantly slower reaction time and decreased decision-making capabilities, resulting in serious accidents. Suppose a drunk or drugged driver injured you. In that case, a reputable car accident lawyer knows how to build a robust claim for compensation for your injuries.

Speeding Drivers

Speeding is consistently one of the leading causes of automobile accidents throughout Florida. Speeding is negligent no matter how many miles an hour over the speed limit a driver is going. Speeding drivers won’t have adequate time to stop their vehicles in case of an emergency. Excess speed can also worsen crashes, causing more severe injuries than accidents at lower speeds. 

Aggressive & Reckless Driving

Aggressive and reckless includes disobeying traffic signals and signs, dangerous turns, weaving in and out of traffic, excessive speeds, and street racing. Reckless driving is negligent as it unnecessarily puts all other motorists at risk. A knowledgeable car accident attorney can help you collect the evidence needed to prove the other driver was driving recklessly.

Drowsy Driving and Falling Asleep

Drowsy driving and falling asleep at the wheel are concerning problems for all drivers. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), as many as 72,000 accidents happen each year because of fatigued drivers. Drowsy driving puts everyone on the road at risk for accidents and injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you prove that the negligent action of drowsy driving was a factor that caused your auto accident.

Defective Car Parts

If any of the vehicles involved in the accident had a defective part before the accident occurred, you might have a claim against the car’s manufacturer. For a successful defective car claim, you must not be at fault, and your car accident attorney must show that the crash resulted from the defective part due to a manufacturing problem. If faulty car parts cause an accident, the vehicle’s manufacturer can be considered at fault no matter which motorist caused the accident.

Road Conditions, Design, or Faulty Construction

Though Florida spends large sums on road maintenance every year, motor vehicle accidents still happen due to faulty road conditions, design, and construction. If other factors weren’t at play, the driver is not considered responsible.

Factors that can contribute to compensation for a related accident include:

  • Lack of proper signs
  • Faulty traffic signals
  • Road design or maintenance problems 

Road Construction

Everyone knows the inconveniences and headaches caused by road construction. However, what many might not be familiar with is that road construction can force pedestrians to walk in areas where drivers won’t expect them to be.

Sidewalks and crosswalks may be torn up and unavailable, giving pedestrians no other choice. Even still, drivers should be on the lookout for pedestrians in construction zones. Construction can also cause confusion among drivers, causing them to drive in ways and places they might not normally.

Left Turns

When drivers prepare to make a left turn, they often focus on negotiating the busy intersection in front of them. They fail to remember that at any point, a pedestrian might be using the sidewalk perpendicular to them to cross the street. Therefore, pedestrians are always at risk when vehicles turn left. Motorcyclists are also at risk as drivers often turn left before noticing their vehicles in the intersection.

Multi-Lane/Arterial Roads

Arterial roads can also represent a grave danger to motorists and pedestrians. For example, motorists must deal with other drivers changing lanes, speeding, making unsafe lane changes, or tailgating in these areas. As such, they are much more focused on what other drivers are doing than on looking out for possible pedestrians in the area.

Other causes of accidents here include:

  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Wrong-way driving
  • Road rage
  • Potholes
  • Unsafe turns
  • Tailgating
  • High winds
  • Tire blowouts
  • Street racing
  • Loose objects in the car
  • Driving too fast for the road or weather conditions
  • Driving with a known severe health issue

Do You Have a Valid Car Accident Claim?

Sometimes, individuals hurt in a car accident are reluctant to seek legal help or pursue compensation. They aren’t sure whether or not their claim is valid. The best thing for them to do is seek the advice of a knowledgeable car accident attorney. Most offer complimentary consultations for those injured in car accidents and welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your case.

After reviewing the facts and your injuries, they can tell you if your claim is valid and what steps to take next. In general, if another party is even partially responsible for your accident and you suffered injuries, you likely have a valid personal injury claim.

Your attorney will work hard to prove the four elements of negligence in your claim, which include:

  • Duty of care: The other driver owed you a duty of care- for example, to drive the speed limit or put down their phone while driving.
  • Breach of duty: The driver violated that duty of care in some way.
  • Injuries: Their breach was the direct cause of your injuries- for instance, they didn’t stop at a stoplight and hit your vehicle. As a result, the other driver T-boned your car, causing you to suffer a broken leg and severe gashes to your head.
  • Damages: Your injuries caused damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Did You Sustain Injuries in a Crash on SR 26 or Another Local Road? Call a Well-Versed Florida Car Accident Attorney Today

Statute of limitations wrongful death in Florida Lawyer
Car Accident Lawyer, Steven A. Bagen

Just because you were in a car accident, don’t automatically assume it was your fault. It’s imperative to have a well-versed Florida car accident lawyer review the details of your case to determine your legal rights and next steps.

You might deserve compensation under Florida’s civil personal injury laws. However, you must take action to pursue them. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced Florida car accident lawyer.