As many Virginia residents already know, the Blue Ridge Parkway is easily one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the U.S. However, it’s not without its risks.
From snow, rains and other treacherous weather conditions to throngs of tourists, particularly during the summer months, even if you’ve driven all or part of the parkway multiple times, you always need to be cautious. You’re sharing the road with bicycles, cars, pickup trucks, RVs and tour buses as well as hikers and wildlife.
Every year, around 200 crashes occur on the parkway, which stretches from Shenandoah National Park here in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Approximately half of these collisions result in serious injuries.
Where the greatest risks?
Certainly, parts of the parkway are more challenging to navigate than others. Things can get especially dicey where there are:
- Curves with little or no view of what’s ahead: These generally have a very low speed limit, so it’s important to adhere to it – no matter how impatient those behind you are. Make sure your headlights (but not your brights) are on so you’re more easily visible to those approaching from the other direction.
- Narrow shoulders: Because the trees and foliage often grow right up to the road, it’s crucial to keep your tires on the road. Swaying off it just a bit can be dangerous – particularly if there are cyclists or hikers there.
- Steep grades: It’s important to watch your speed carefully when going downhill. You can end up traveling much faster than intended and lose control.
- Closures and road work: In the winter, it’s not uncommon for parts of the parkway to close temporarily due to a large snowfall. Flooding can happen any time of year. When the weather is good, be prepared to see roadwork being done. This can take stretches of road down to one lane for both directions of traffic.
Of course, no matter how cautious you are as a driver, if you encounter another driver who isn’t, it may not matter. If you’ve suffered injuries due to another person’s negligence, it’s crucial to get the compensation you need for medical care and other expenses and damages. Don’t agree to a settlement until you have received legal guidance.