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Interstate 81 Accident News and Resources

Interstate 81 is known for its scenic vistas and stunning viewpoints as it follows the backbone of the Appalachian Mountains. I-81 is also a trucking corridor and links the Northeast to the Southeast, passing through the Tennessee Valley, but it is also known to have very steep grades, which can be very dangerous, especially when the traffic is dense. The narrow lanes of Interstate-81 can pose additional challenges for drivers. On average, more than 56,000 people use the interstate every day. There are some stretches of I-81 that have more than 75,000 drivers that utilize them each day. 

Accidents happen every day on Interstate 81. They usually occur in the blink of an eye without warning. They can have catastrophic results for the parties involved and their loved ones. When we leave our homes, no one thinks about whether or not they will make it to their destination safely. 

Many different types of accidents occur on Interstate 81. Some of the most commonly reported accidents that take place on I-81 include the following:

 

 

Accident Types on I81
Rear-end
Collisions:

This type of accident occurs when a vehicle hits the vehicle in front of it on the roadway. There are many reasons why this type of accident takes place, often due to driver error while on the interstate..

Accident Types on I81
Truck
Accidents:

Roughly 50% of truck accidents on the interstate take over four hours to clean up. Extensive delays along these narrow roadways make traveling on the interstate even more hazardous.

Accident Types on I81
Motorcycle
Accidents:

When a motorcycle accident occurs the results can be severe for a rider. That's because motorcycles & their riders have little protection when involved in an accident with a larger car or truck.

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Rear-end
Collisions:

This type of accident occurs when a vehicle hits the vehicle in front of it on the roadway. There are many reasons why this type of accident takes place, often due to driver error while on the interstate..

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Truck
Accidents:

Roughly 50% of truck accidents on the interstate take over four hours to clean up. Extensive delays along these narrow roadways make traveling on the interstate even more hazardous.

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Motorcycle
Accidents:

When a motorcycle accident occurs the results can be severe for a rider. That's because motorcycles & their riders have little protection when involved in an accident with a larger car or truck.

In many instances, crashes leave victims with severe, life-altering, or, even worse, life-ending injuries. Some people end up losing their lives due to their injuries. These and other accidents occur at an alarming rate along Interstate 81 every year.

Although numerous safety measures have been implemented to protect motorists, there is still a high rate of traffic-related incidents that occur each year on Interstate-81. Every year, more than 2,000 accidents take place on Interstate-81 in Virginia. About one-quarter of these accidents involve semi-trucks. More than 40% of all truck accidents in the state of Virginia take place on Interstate-81 annually.

The average rate of fatal accidents across the entire state is 0.58%. On all Virginia interstate highways, the rate is 0.63%. The rate of deadly accidents on Interstate-81 is higher than the state average.

Although Interstate-81 is a reliable and popular option for transportation, drivers must be vigilant while traveling. Nearly 1% of all crashes on Interstate-81 involving cars, trucks, and pedestrians will end in fatal injuries for at least one person involved. This rate is nearly twice the percentage of fatal accidents on Interstate-64 and almost 75% higher than the number of fatal accidents on Interstate-95.

 

 

How to Travel Safely With Semi-Trucks on Interstate 81

Since tractor-trailers make up nearly 50% of all vehicles traveling along the interstate, it is crucial that motorists take various steps to improve their chances of traveling safely.

Driving on Interstate-81 is not the place to speed. While navigating the interstate, especially in heavy-traffic areas, you must maintain a safe speed at or below the speed limit. Traffic patterns, weather, and other factors may even force you to go slower.

The patterns of the roadway are far too unpredictable to be able to travel safely at high speeds. Studies show that accidents can take place in mere seconds. When you are driving too fast or following too closely, you may not be able to stop your car in time to avoid a life-changing collision.

In addition to maintaining a safe speed, you can take various other steps to travel safely while sharing the roadway with 18-wheelers.

 

 

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Staying out of the truck blind spot as often as possible.

 

 

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Only pass semi-trucks while utilizing the left lane.

 

 

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Do not follow too closely to semi-trucks and commercial vehicles.

 

 

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Do not drive recklessly or in an aggressive manner while near a semi-truck.

 

 

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If you encounter an aggressive truck driver while traveling on Interstate-81, let them pass and stay away from their vehicles whenever possible.

 

 

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Be aware of traffic patterns and the conditions around you.

 

 

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Report any dangerous truck drivers you encounter to law enforcement as soon as possible.

 

 

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Minimize any distractions in your vehicle whenever possible.

 

 

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Staying out of the truck blind spot as often as possible.

 

 

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Only pass semi-trucks while utilizing the left lane.

 

 

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Do not follow too closely to semi-trucks and commercial vehicles.

 

 

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Do not drive recklessly or in an aggressive manner while near a semi-truck.

 

 

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If you encounter an aggressive truck driver while traveling on Interstate-81, let them pass and stay away from their vehicles whenever possible.

 

 

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Be aware of traffic patterns and the conditions around you.

 

 

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Report any dangerous truck drivers you encounter to law enforcement as soon as possible.

 

 

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Minimize any distractions in your vehicle whenever possible.

 

 

About Highway – 81

The total length of the interstate is around 854 miles. Drivers who wish to travel across the entire length of the interstate can do so in approximately 14 hours and 2 minutes at an average rate of 60 miles per hour. Interstate-81 passes through six states. These states include:

Inside these six states, the interstate takes drivers through several large cities.

Some notable locations that people can travel to while utilizing Interstate-81 include:

  • Binghamton, New York
  • Bristol, Tennessee
  • Hagerstown, Maryland
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Syracuse, New York
  • Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • Winchester, Virginia
Interstate 81 Map

It is essential to know that drivers can transport consumer products quickly across Interstate 81 to easily access dozens of cities. Some key intersections along interstate-81 in the state of Virginia include:

  • Interstate-381, which runs 1.5 miles while connecting Bristol, Virginia to Interstate-81.
  • Interstate-581, which runs 6.35 miles to connect Interstate-81 to Roanoke, Virginia.
  • Pennsylvania Interstate-581, which runs 7.36 miles to connect the interstate to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Interstate-481, which serves as a bypass on Syracuse, New York, along the city’s eastern end.
  • Interstate 781, which runs 4.8 miles while connecting the interstate to Fort Drum, New York.
  • New York Interstate-281, which extends 16.56 miles between Cortland County and Onondaga County.

Drivers who decide to drive on Interstate-81 need to be aware that the traffic on this roadway is extremely unpredictable. Drivers must remain alert at all times due to the high frequency of traffic-related incidents that occur each year on Interstate-81 in Virginia and across several other states.

However, it is important to know that drivers are able to transport quickly across the interstate to access dozens of cities with ease. Some key intersections along Interstate-81 in the state of Virginia include:

  • Interstate-381, which runs 1.5 miles while connecting Bristol, Virginia to Interstate-81.
  • Interstate-581, which runs 6.35 miles to connect Interstate-81 to Roanoke, Virginia.
  • Pennsylvania Interstate-581, which runs 7.36 miles to connect the interstate to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Interstate-481, which serves as a bypass on Syracuse, New York along the city’s eastern end.
  • Interstate 781, which runs 4.8 miles while connecting the interstate to Fort Drum, New York.
  • New York Interstate-281, which extends 16.56 miles between Cortland County and Onondaga County.

Drivers who decide to use Interstate-81 need to be aware that the traffic on this roadway is extremely unpredictable. Drivers must remain alert at all times due to the high frequency of traffic-related incidents that occur each year on Interstate-81 in Virginia and across several other states.

 

 

It is essential to know that drivers can transport consumer products quickly across Interstate 81 to easily access dozens of cities. Some key intersections along interstate-81 in the state of Virginia include:

  • Interstate-381, which runs 1.5 miles while connecting Bristol, Virginia to Interstate-81.
  • Interstate-581, which runs 6.35 miles to connect Interstate-81 to Roanoke, Virginia.
  • Pennsylvania Interstate-581, which runs 7.36 miles to connect the interstate to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Interstate-481, which serves as a bypass on Syracuse, New York, along the city’s eastern end.
  • Interstate 781, which runs 4.8 miles while connecting the interstate to Fort Drum, New York.
  • New York Interstate-281, which extends 16.56 miles between Cortland County and Onondaga County.

Drivers who decide to drive on Interstate-81 need to be aware that the traffic on this roadway is extremely unpredictable. Drivers must remain alert at all times due to the high frequency of traffic-related incidents that occur each year on Interstate-81 in Virginia and across several other states.

However, it is important to know that drivers are able to transport quickly across the interstate to access dozens of cities with ease. Some key intersections along Interstate-81 in the state of Virginia include:

  • Interstate-381, which runs 1.5 miles while connecting Bristol, Virginia to Interstate-81.
  • Interstate-581, which runs 6.35 miles to connect Interstate-81 to Roanoke, Virginia.
  • Pennsylvania Interstate-581, which runs 7.36 miles to connect the interstate to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Interstate-481, which serves as a bypass on Syracuse, New York along the city’s eastern end.
  • Interstate 781, which runs 4.8 miles while connecting the interstate to Fort Drum, New York.
  • New York Interstate-281, which extends 16.56 miles between Cortland County and Onondaga County.

Drivers who decide to use Interstate-81 need to be aware that the traffic on this roadway is extremely unpredictable. Drivers must remain alert at all times due to the high frequency of traffic-related incidents that occur each year on Interstate-81 in Virginia and across several other states.

 

 

About Highway – 81

The Route of Interstate-81

The total length of the interstate is around 854 miles. Drivers who wish to travel across the entire length of the interstate can do so in approximately 14 hours and 2 minutes at an average rate of 60 miles per hour. Interstate-81 passes through six states. These states include:

  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Tennessee


Inside these six states, the interstate takes drivers through several large cities.
Some notable locations that people can travel to while utilizing Interstate-81 include:

  • Binghamton, New York
  • Bristol, Tennessee
  • Hagerstown, Maryland
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Syracuse, New York
  • Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • Winchester, Virginia

However, it is important to know that drivers are able to transport quickly across the interstate to access dozens of cities with ease. Some key intersections along
Interstate-81 in the state of Virginia include:

  • Interstate-381, which runs 1.5 miles while connecting Bristol, Virginia to Interstate-81.
  • Interstate-581, which runs 6.35 miles to connect Interstate-81 to Roanoke, Virginia.
  • Pennsylvania Interstate-581, which runs 7.36 miles to connect the interstate to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Interstate-481, which serves as a bypass on Syracuse, New York along the city’s eastern end.
  • Interstate 781, which runs 4.8 miles while connecting the interstate to Fort Drum, New York.
  • New York Interstate-281, which extends 16.56 miles between Cortland County and Onondaga County.

Drivers who decide to use Interstate-81 need to be aware that the traffic on this roadway is extremely unpredictable. Drivers must remain alert at all times due to the high frequency of traffic-related incidents that occur each year on Interstate-81 in Virginia and across several other states.

 

 

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I-81 Accident Statistics

Driving on Interstate 81 Increases the Odds of Being Involved in an Accident with a Semi 

If you commute on I-81, you face many truck accident hazards along the way. However, some areas in the state have more dangerous areas of the roadway than others. For example, Interstate 81 (I-81) is notorious for its danger to motorists, regardless of the vehicles they drive. Some statistics revolving around I-81 include:

 

 

  • The interstate highway spans 325 miles.
  • Nearly 50 miles of the road feature grades 3% or greater.
  • More than 40% of statewide trucking traffic occurs on I-81.
  • Over 2,000 vehicle accidents occur on I-81 each year.

 

 

  • About one-quarter of vehicle accidents involve large, heavy trucks.
  • I-81 has the highest percentage of truck accidents than any other road in Virginia.
  • Nearly half of the accidents on I-81 take about four hours to clear.

 

 

I-81 in Virginia

  • I-81 is 325 miles in length (86.6 miles in Bristol District/ 86.8 miles in Salem District/ 151.6 miles in Staunton District)
  • 48 miles of I-81 have grades greater than 3%
  • Along I-81, there are six metropolitan areas and 30 higher education institutions.
  • I-81 carries 42% of statewide truck traffic volume
  • Trucks make up 20-30% of the traffic volumes on some sections of I-81
  • Total Truck freight traffic on I-81 serves:
  • 11.7 million units per year (33% of Virginia’s total)
  • $312 billion of freight per year (47% of Virginia’s total)
  • 1.2 billion truck Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) (42% of Virginia total)

 

 

Interstate 81 Accident Breakdown

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do after being in an accident on Interstate 81?

If you are involved in an accident on I81 or even witness an accident as you are driving on I81, there are steps that you should take to ensure the safety of all involved parties and all drivers sharing the interstate.  

  • If anyone has suffered an injury in the accident, call 911 right away. 
  • Call law enforcement, especially if there is a hit and run involved. 
  • Gather the names, contact information, and driver’s licenses of all drivers who were involved in the accident.  
  • Take down the license plate numbers and request to see the vehicle(s) registration to ensure that all information is correct.  
  • Gather the names and contact information of all witnesses.  
  • Take pictures if you have a phone or camera available while still at the scene, if at all possible.
  • Contact your insurance company right away.  

 

 

What should I do if I was seriously injured or my loved one was seriously injured in an accident on I81?

The very first thing you should do is seek medical attention for your injuries right away. Then, it’s essential to speak with a knowledgeable I81 personal injury lawyer as soon as possible about your injury accident. You should do this to ensure that your rights are protected from the start of your accident and help you determine whether you have the right to pursue actions against the responsible party or parties that caused your injuries. 

 

 

Do I need a lawyer after my Interstate 81 accident?

No, you are certainly not obligated to hire an attorney. It is technically possible, although not recommended, for you to represent yourself after an accident. As with any other profession, experience and training place a personal injury lawyer in a much better position to secure the compensation you need after an accident. 

While you will need to pay your lawyer if you are awarded recovery, in most cases, injured victims who retain an attorney still get significantly more money than victims who choose to represent themselves. 

One of the good things about hiring a personal injury attorney is that you can do it without risk. You never pay your attorney directly and always come out ahead. Almost all car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you are awarded compensation. Once you win, your lawyer receives a predetermined percentage of your settlement.  

 

 

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Be extra alert:

This seems obvious, but try to be extra alert when driving on dangerous highways. Act as if you’re driving in poor road conditions (heavy rain or snow or poor visibility).

 

 

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Plan ahead:

If you’re traveling long distances on a road trip or for work or pleasure, plan ahead. Consider when you’ll hit heavy-traffic areas and the weather conditions throughout your trip.

 

 

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Rest:

If you feel drowsy, take a break and let someone else drive or pull off in a safe place for a quick nap. Here are some keen warning signs of drowsy driving: yawning or blinking frequently, watering eyes, difficulty recalling the past few miles that you’ve driven, missing exits, or drifting from your lane.

 

 

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Obey traffic laws:

Always obey traffic laws. Not only will this prevent you from receiving a ticket, but you’re less likely to get into a fatal car accident if you obey the speed limit and other traffic regulations.

 

 

Accidents currently listed on i81accidents.com

204 accidents in 2022
4 accidents in 2022