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Staying safe on U.S. 550

Year after year, government traffic data reaffirms the local opinion that U.S. 550 is one of the deadliest highways in New Mexico. Other highways see more traffic and less accidents than the stretch of road between Bernalillo and Colorado state line.

According to safety traffic engineers and patrol officers, the high speed limit and lack of effective barriers between north and southbound roads are a dangerous combination. Concrete barriers between these lanes could greatly reduce head-on collisions.

If you and your loved ones are traveling U.S. 550, here are valuable safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Watch your speed: It can be difficult to maintain control of a vehicle when you are driving at a high speed on a flat, straight road. It is much more difficult to navigate the curves and hills on U.S. 550 at 70 miles per hour, which is the posted speed limit.
  2. Avoid distractions: You cannot control what other drivers do behind the wheel, but you can make the choice to avoid deadly distractions. Cellphones, car infotainment systems and passengers can take your focus off the road. When they interrupt your concentration, they reduce your reaction time.
  3. Prepare for a change in the weather: Elevation changes along the highway can quickly affect road conditions. It is not rare for rain, sleet or snow to change the road surface in a matter of minutes. You can protect yourself and your passengers in these hazardous conditions by taking driving slowly and taking other precautions.

When you get on the road, it is crucial to stay aware of your surroundings. Driving while drowsy, intoxicated or distracted endangers your passengers and other travelers on the road. A commitment to safe driving practices is a commitment to your passengers’ safety.

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