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Lack of a Guardrail May Be to Blame for Serious Accidents

Posted by Jeremy Rosenthal | Sep 03, 2020 | 0 Comments

Driving through the mountains in Colorado can be nerve-wracking. Many high mountain drives have sharp turns, multiple switchbacks, narrow roads, and steep drops. Mountain passes, including Independence Pass, Douglas Pass, and Cameron Pass can be subject to closures and restrictions when conditions make driving even more dangerous. However, safety measures like a guardrail at certain turns may be able to make driving in the mountains less dangerous.  

Injury Accident After 500 Foot Plunge Over Independence Pass

On August 21, two women were injured in an accident when their car went off the side of the road on Highway 82 over Independence Pass. The two people are from California, both were wearing seatbelts and were driving a 2016 Kia Soul. The accident happened at about 11:30 at night but they were not discovered until about 11:30 am the next day, when another driver spotted the wreck. According to the CSP, the driver “failed to navigate a sharp turn.”

Both people sustained serious injuries as their vehicle flipped over multiple times down a 400 to 500 foot slide. Both were taken to the hospital by helicopter to Denver-area hospitals. Independent Pass was closed for a number of hours between Tagert Lake Road and U.S. 24 because of the accident. 

History of Accidents Near Independence Pass

This was not the first serious accident involving a car going off the road in Independence Pass. In 2002, a driver was killed and a passenger suffered serious injuries when their Jeep Cherokee went off the road near mile 55. According to reports, the vehicle rolled a quarter time, hit a tree, then continued rolling, ejecting the driver. The 27-year-old driver from New Zealand died from his injuries. The passenger suffered a broken rib, head injuries, cuts, and bruises. 

Can Guardrails Prevent Off The Highway Crashes

Independence Pass is the highest paved land in Colorado. The website,, describes Independence Pass as “full of steep drop-offs, tight curves, and narrow stretches that can fit only one car at a time.” 

A guardrail at this curve, and at other dangerous curves in mountain passes, are possible. Guardrails can prevent this type of accident, where a driver going within normal speed limits fails to navigate a sharp turn. Hitting a guardrail at road speeds is generally much less dangerous than going off the side of a steep mountain pass. 

Many drivers who are used to driving narrow and twisty roads blame other drivers for accidents, saying they should have read the signs and paid more attention. However, a driver who is unfamiliar with the road should have the benefit of a safely designed road. Just because a dangerous road has been around a long time does not mean it should be grandfathered in without safety in mind. Hazardous road conditions can be improved to make them less hazardous, saving lives, and reducing road closures to respond to accidents. 

Improper Road Design Accidents

If you were involved in a car accident due to improper road design in Denver or the surrounding areas, it is crucial to work with an attorney experienced in this difficult area of law. Contact today at 303-642-8888 for a free consultation. We are here waiting for you.

About the Author

Jeremy Rosenthal

Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is dedicated to helping his clients seek just compensation for their injuries regardless of the lengths he has to go to or the distances he may have to travel in order to get it.


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