Where Do Most Car Accidents Happen in Syracuse?

Car Accidents in Syracuse
Posted: June 29, 2024

Syracuse, the heart of Central New York, is known for its rich history, diverse culture, and spirited community. However, like any lively metropolis, Syracuse is no stranger to car accidents.

As personal injury attorneys serving clients across New York State, the team at William Mattar Law Offices has extensive experience representing individuals who have suffered injuries in motor vehicle crashes throughout the Syracuse area.

Our attorneys have noticed patterns in the locations where accidents occur most frequently. These high-risk areas span various neighborhoods and roadway types, each presenting unique challenges and hazards to motorists, passengers, and pedestrians. Understanding where crashes are more likely to happen can help residents and visitors navigate the city more safely and avoid potential collisions.

From the congested streets of downtown to the retail-heavy thoroughfares in the suburbs, here are some common hot spots in Syracuse where you should exercise caution while driving.

if you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident in Syracuse, reach out to a knowledgeable Syracuse car accident attorney for legal guidance.

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Syracuse Car Accident Hot Spots

While a crash can happen anywhere at any time, certain locations and roadways in Syracuse are more frequently affected by accidents, including:

Downtown Syracuse

Erie Boulevard in downtown Syracuse, New YorkWith dense traffic, numerous intersections, and heavy pedestrian activity, downtown Syracuse sees a high concentration of car accidents, especially during rush hours.

The I-81/I-690 interchange is one of the most notorious spots, as the confluence of vehicles entering and exiting the highways often leads to rear-end collisions and sideswipes.

Other downtown streets with elevated accident rates include:

  • Erie Boulevard: This central east-west corridor is lined with shops, businesses, and parking lots, resulting in frequent traffic slowdowns and accidents caused by drivers making turns or pulling out into traffic. Pedestrians crossing the multi-lane boulevard also increase the risk.
  • Salina Street: Running north-south through the heart of downtown, Salina Street has several complex intersections, including the cross streets of Washington, Fayette, and Jefferson. Aggressive driving and failure to yield the right of way at these junctions cause numerous angle collisions.
  • Adams Street: Providing access to multiple hospitals, doctor’s offices, and Syracuse University buildings, Adams Street traffic includes hurried drivers, pedestrians, buses, and emergency vehicles – a recipe for collisions, especially near the crowded intersection with Almond Street and University Avenue.

The combination of congestion, confusing road layouts, one-way streets, and inattentive or impatient drivers make downtown Syracuse a perennial hotspot for vehicle crashes and injuries to motorists and pedestrians alike. Obeying traffic signals, driving defensively, and staying alert are essential when navigating the area.

University Area

Home to Syracuse University and SUNY ESF campuses, the University Hill neighborhood also contains Upstate Medical University, Crouse Hospital, and the VA Medical Center. University Hill roads are extremely busy with over 30,000 students plus faculty, staff, and hospital employees in a compact area, which poses heightened accident risks.

Major collision-prone spots include:

  • E Genesee Street and Irving Avenue near the SU Schine Student Center, where vehicles compete with constant foot traffic from students crossing between campus buildings. Speeding is a contributing factor to many crashes.
  • The multi-point intersection at Waverly and Comstock Avenues and University Place. With the circular layout and multiple turn options, failure-to-yield crashes, such as collisions with cyclists in the area, are common.
  • Euclid Avenue is a densely populated student housing district with high vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Limited visibility from parked cars and distracted driving frequently result in cars striking pedestrians or sideswiping each other.

With inexperienced student drivers, out-of-town motorists unfamiliar with the confusing streets, and the sheer volume of cars and pedestrians around the University area, attentive, cautious driving is a must. Slow down, obey posted signs and signals, and always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Commercial Districts

Several of Syracuse’s retail and commercial areas also see higher-than-average rates of car accidents, particularly near busy shopping centers, malls, and box stores.

The following zones require extra caution:

  • Destiny USA area: Syracuse’s largest mall complex generates major traffic on surrounding streets, including Solar Street, Hiawatha Boulevard, and Park Street. Accidents often occur as drivers turn, slow, or stop abruptly, and distracted motorists fail to react in time. The on/off ramps for I-81 also create tricky merges.
  • Erie Boulevard East: This commercial drag in DeWitt is lined with strip malls, big box retailers, car dealers, and restaurants. With heavy traffic entering and exiting parking lots and making left turns across travel lanes, rear-end and angle crashes are exceedingly common, especially near Bridge Street.
  • Route 11/Brewerton Road in Cicero: Another busy retail corridor north of Syracuse, this stretch is notorious for accidents near the Route 31 intersection and shopping plaza driveways. Speeding and aggressive driving are frequent factors.

To minimize risks when driving in busy commercial zones, reduce your speed, avoid distractions, and always use turn signals before turning into plaza entrances or changing lanes. Watch for pedestrians in parking lots and prepare to stop suddenly if a car ahead slows unexpectedly.

Rural Roads

While most Syracuse accidents happen on urban streets, crashes on outlying rural roads can be especially severe due to higher travel speeds.

Onondaga County rural roadways with frequent serious accidents include:

  • Route 20 in Skaneateles and Marcellus
  • Route 173 in Manlius and Chittenango
  • Route 174 in Marcellus
  • Route 80 in Fabius and Lafayette
  • Route 91 in Pompey

Risk factors on these two-lane rural highways include excessive speed, limited visibility on hills and curves, wildlife crossings, and lack of median barriers separating opposing traffic flows. Head-on collisions and run-off-road crashes are common.

If you must drive on unfamiliar rural roads, reduce speed significantly, keep headlights on even during the day, and avoid passing other vehicles unless you have ample straight-line visibility to do so safely. Always scan ahead for deer or other animals that may enter the roadway suddenly.


Syracuse’s network of high-speed expressways – I-81, I-481, I-690, and the New York State Thruway (I-90)—carry tens of thousands of vehicles daily. While these divided highways are statistically safer than other roadways, the speeds involved mean that accidents are often catastrophic.

Pileups involving dozens of cars occasionally occur during winter whiteouts.

The most dangerous expressway spots have short on/off ramps, left exits, and sudden lane reductions that require rapid weaving and lane changes.

Notable crash-prone locations include:

  • I-690 at Teall Ave and Beech St: Short merges and traffic backups cause rear-end collisions
  • I-81 at Route 481 interchange (the Tri-level): Lane shifts and speeding lead to rollovers and impacts with barriers
  • Thruway Exit 39 at I-690: Traffic entering and exiting between the two expressways results in sideswipes and rear-enders, especially during peak times

On Syracuse interstates, always obey posted speed limits, avoid aggressively changing lanes, and increase your following distance, especially near interchanges or in bad weather.

Reduce speed significantly in work zones and move over for stopped emergency vehicles. Wearing seat belts is critical for mitigating injuries when high-speed crashes occur.

Who Pays for Car Accident Injuries in New York?

New York’s no-fault insurance system governs who pays for car accident injuries. Under this system, each driver’s own insurance company covers their medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

This coverage is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP).

Here’s a breakdown of how no-fault insurance works in New York:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): All New York drivers must carry a minimum of $50,000 in PIP coverage. If you’re injured in a car accident, you’ll file a claim with your own insurance company to recover benefits for medical bills, lost income, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries.
  • Serious Injury Threshold: To step outside the no-fault system and pursue a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, your injuries must meet the state’s serious injury threshold. This means your injuries must result in significant disfigurement, bone fracture, permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member, significant limitation of use of a body function or system, or substantially full disability for 90 days.
  • Liability Claims: If your injuries meet the serious injury threshold, you can file a liability claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This allows you to seek compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering not covered under PIP.
  • Lawsuits: In some cases, filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver may be necessary to recover full compensation for your damages. This is often the case when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits won’t cover all of your losses.

New York’s no-fault system does not apply to motorcycle accidents or accidents involving intentional acts. In these cases, injured parties can pursue a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party without meeting the serious injury threshold.

Should I Contact a Lawyer if I Suffered Injuries in a Syracuse Car Accident?

Consult an Auto Accident Lawyer in SyracuseNavigating New York’s no-fault insurance system and pursuing compensation for serious injuries can be complex and overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to recover from a traumatic accident. That’s why contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer should be a top priority.

Here’s why seeking legal representation is so important:

  • Protecting your rights: Insurance companies often try to settle claims quickly and for as little money as possible. A skilled car accident attorney will advocate for your best interests and ensure you don’t settle for less than you deserve.
  • Navigating complex laws: New York’s no-fault insurance system and other state-specific laws can be confusing and challenging to navigate without knowledge of these laws. A Syracuse car accident lawyer will explain your rights and legal options.
  • Investigating your case: To build a strong claim, your attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts to prove liability and damages.
  • Assessing damages: A seasoned lawyer will accurately calculate the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any long-term costs related to your injuries.
  • Negotiating with insurers: Your attorney will handle all communication and negotiation with the insurance companies involved, working tirelessly to secure a fair settlement that covers all your damages.
  • Preparing for trial: If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will be prepared to take your case to court and fight for your rights before a judge and jury.

At William Mattar Law Offices, our compassionate Syracuse car accident attorneys have helped countless injury victims get the compensation they need to recover and move forward with their lives. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no upfront costs, and we only get paid if we win your case.

Don’t wait to get the legal help you need and deserve. After a Syracuse car crash, contact William Mattar Law Offices today to schedule your free consultation with one of our dedicated personal injury lawyers.

Contact a Syracuse Car Accident Lawyer from William Mattar Law Offices Today

Regardless of the location, most Syracuse car accidents have one common denominator: human error. Distracted driving, intoxicated driving, speeding, tailgating, running red lights, refusing to yield, and other reckless behaviors cause crashes that change lives in seconds.

While knowing the high-risk areas can help you stay more vigilant, driving responsibly and obeying traffic laws at all times is the best way to keep yourself and others safe on Syracuse streets and highways.

If you are injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, the dedicated legal team at William Mattar Law Offices is here to help. Our experienced Syracuse personal injury lawyers will thoroughly investigate your case and fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve.

Contact us today at (315) 444-4444 or through our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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