SECAUCUS, N.J. — Even though many people from the tri-state region are already on the road for the Thanksgiving holiday, the biggest travel day of the year is Wednesday. And with the overwhelming majority of those travelers set to get to their destination by car, new analysis of highway safety figures provide a strong message of caution for drivers.
Danielle Marchell, an insurance agent, stated the situation clearly.
“I-95 is the most deadly freeway in the U.S.,” she said.
That’s the conclusion that her company, insurance clearinghouse The Zebra, made after analyzing federal highway statistics from 2019, the last available full year for which figures are available.
Joseph Durdack, a motorist who drives the interstate frequently between North Jersey and Atlantic City, said that he wasn’t surprised to hear that I-95 had the country’s highest rate of fatalities.
“The lanes are too narrow, a lot of the trucks are in shape that they shouldn’t be on the road,” he said.
“You have a lot of tourists on the road that really have no idea how to drive the New York metropolitan area,” he added. “They hit this road, and they don’t know what the hell hit them.”
Marchell said that acknowledging the high fatality rate on the main highway for our entire region can help to encourage drivers to be safe on I-95, as well as on all other roadways this holiday season.
She said road safety is enhanced when drivers choose to not engage in certain behaviors.
“When you do decide to speed, or you do drive distracted, that increases your chance of having a crash,” said Marchell.
Jo Klos, a driver headed down I-95 from Massachusetts to Virginia, said that she tries to adhere to the recommendation Marchell made.
“I’m just focused on where I’m going, and the people next to me, and not looking around too much,” she said.
Vince Soto, another motorist, said he tries to engage in safe practices behind the wheel, as well.
Both drivers were at a rest stop off the New Jersey Turnpike, which is a stretch of I-95. They were getting gas for the journey. It’s figuring into the holiday getaway in a noticeable way, as well.
Gas prices are up $1.30 a gallon from a year ago, according to the gasoline pricing website GasBuddy. Prices have now leveled off from last week, but are still high, however.
It’s part of the reason why, on Tuesday, President Joe Biden released 50 million gallons of oil from the country’s strategic reserve, in the interest of increasing supply, and lowering gas prices.
The president said lowering prices will take time. Among other factors, the oil that he released still has to be processed.
To beat the high prices, and to promote safety, and help the environment, there are alternatives to driving.
NJ Transit, from Wednesday at 7 p.m. until next Monday at 6 p.m., has its SuperSaver fare, Mariluz Garcia-Diaz, senior public information officer at NJ Transit, said.
“[It] allows up to two children, ages 11 and younger, to travel with each fare-paying adult,” she said.
It’s a three-for-one fare, and NJ Transit is adding additional trains at certain times during the holiday week.
Metro North is also adding extra service on both its MetroNorth and LIRR lines.