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Why Small Towns in New Mexico are Hotbeds of Motor Vehicle Accidents

small town

New Mexico, known for its enchanting landscapes and rich cultural tapestry, is also home to a diverse range of urban and rural communities. While Albuquerque often comes to mind when discussing road safety, it’s crucial to turn our attention to the smaller towns that dot the Land of Enchantment. Though smaller in population, these communities face unique driving dangers, underscoring the need for alert driving throughout the state.

Alamogordo: Military Maneuvers and Road Risks

First up, Alamogordo. Nestled in the Tularosa Basin of the Chihuahuan Desert, Alamogordo is more than just a peaceful desert town. It’s adjacent to Holloman Air Force Base, bringing unique challenges to its roads. The base’s operations often result in an influx of vehicles, leading to unexpectedly high traffic levels in the area. Furthermore, military vehicles, typically larger and more complex than standard civilian vehicles, add another layer of complexity to the local traffic scenario. Their presence increases traffic volume and elevates the potential for more frequent and severe accidents, given their size and operational nature.

Hobbs and Clovis: The Pedestrian Peril

Moving eastward to Hobbs and, to a lesser extent, Clovis, a troubling trend emerges: pedestrian accidents. The causes are multifaceted and vary by case—ranging from inadequate pedestrian infrastructure to increased vehicular traffic. These incidents are particularly concerning given the severe impact they can have on individuals and families, as being struck by a car at any speed can cause severe injury. Unfortunately, not all pedestrians hit by vehicles understand their full rights, which can lead them to receive reduced compensation and a lower quality of life after the accident. A key part of hiring a lawyer for such a case is to help ensure that all possible areas of liability are explored and that the victim or their family receives the best possible compensation for the accident.

highway with head on collisions
Image by Voicu Oara by Canva.com

The State Highway 285 Conundrum

State Highway 285, traversing through small towns in New Mexico like Carlsbad and Roswell exemplifies the challenges of New Mexico’s rural roadways. A major artery for trucking, this highway has fallen into disrepair, making it a hotspot for truck-related accidents. The combination of heavy traffic, large vehicles, and poor road conditions creates a perilous situation for all road users, especially as highways like 285 often serve as the primary means of getting to or around town.

The danger this presents is perhaps best exemplified by the recent accident where a local school bus failed to give way when entering Highway 285, resulting in an accident with an oncoming pickup truck, sending the truck’s occupants and a child from the school bus to the hospital. This case demonstrates that when roads aren’t in great shape and when many different kinds of vehicles must share the same space, accidents become more likely, and drivers must be more vigilant.

Rio Rancho: The Challenges of Growth

Rio Rancho has seen several types of accidents, including bicycle accidents, car collisions, and pedestrian accidents. Notable recent incidents include a fatal collision between a bicyclist and another vehicle, as well as pedestrians being struck and killed. Unser Boulevard has been a hot spot for accidents over the past few years, with multiple multi-car incidents occurring.

At first, this may seem like a seemingly random series of accidents with no common thread. But the reality is that the population of Rio Rancho has more than doubled since 2000. With a nearly 5% annual growth rate, it’s hard to imagine that the road infrastructure has kept up with demand. The construction needed to keep up with growth like that can present problems by closing roads and forcing more vehicles onto fewer streets. Construction zones can create challenging driving conditions, leading to more accidents.

Deming: Facing Accidents Head-On

In Deming, New Mexico, recent trends in motor vehicle accidents indicate a concerning pattern of severe incidents, including fatal head-on collisions. A notable accident on New Mexico Highway 26, a two-lane highway connecting Deming and Hatch, involved a head-on collision between a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and an SUV, leading to a fatality. Another incident on the same highway involved a CMV making contact with a water tanker truck headed in the same direction, before seemingly losing control, and crossing over into the opposite traffic lane, resulting in a head-on collision.

These incidents highlight the particular risks associated with two-lane highways, where head-on collisions are more likely and can be especially dangerous or fatal. Making matters worse is the fact that this is a major commercial corridor, and the involvement of commercial vehicles almost always results in more severe accidents. Because of these vehicles’ inherent danger, commercial companies must ensure their drivers are adequately trained and their vehicles maintained. Personal injury attorneys are skilled in obtaining the necessary information to establish appropriate laws and guidelines that can help improve the outcomes in serious cases like these.

Why Localized Legal Expertise Matters

While Albuquerque may lead New Mexico in the sheer number of accidents, the driving dangers in the state’s smaller towns are significant and distinct. These examples from all over the state illustrate a critical point: road safety challenges in smaller towns are unique and often overlooked. Personal injury lawyers, like those at Kane, play a vital role in these communities, helping victims receive the compensation they need to get their lives back on track. They bring legal expertise and an understanding of the local context, which is crucial for effectively representing accident victims and helping them receive the maximum compensation they’re owed. If you or a loved one has been in an accident in a small town in New Mexico, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.