A southern state, Mississippi with access to the Gulf of Mexico is part of its coastal plain and is considered mostly composed of lowlands with rolling hills. Mississippi is in the lower third of states for its size and population and is one of the poorest states by average income in the union. The Mississippi river delta comprises the western portion of the state from north to south and there is a small portion of the state that has Gulf Access. Driving in Mississippi along major highways provides great travel routes. .
The state has 6 major Interstate highways including I-55, 59, 69, 10, 20, and 22 with 3 additional spur routes, 14 US State highways and of course Mississippi’s own state highways. State highways follow a system that helps drivers denote the direction of their travel. Odd-numbered state highways denote a north-south axis while an even-numbered route means an east-west direction.
However, drivers in Mississippi need to be careful. Listed as the most dangerous state to drive in recently, the ranking had more to do with the state’s crumbling road infrastructure and lack of enforcement officers on highways than anything else. With road conditions in a poor state, Mississippians that travel outside of well-maintained areas such as those around Biloxi and Jackson may endure rough roads.
These roadways can become dangerous especially when your vehicle is not in good repair, or if you have not prepared for a breakdown. With major portions of the state being rural, it may also take considerable time to get auto service or find a nearby auto station. When travelling outside urban areas it is advised to be vigilant on roadways and keep extra supplies handy for a potential breakdown. The good news is that in urban areas congestion is generally not an issue in the state.
As a humid subtropical state, most assume that the weather in Mississippi is quite warm all the time. Yet due to the length of the state from north to south, almost 400 miles, its weather can be somewhat different at the gulf coast and the Tennessee border in the extreme north of the state. In fact snow is not uncommon in the north and central portions of the state, although not frequent. Precipitation in state does vary from lower to higher from north to south in the state as well.
Driving through the state during the winter can be dangerous during particularly cold spells or during rare large snow events in the north. These events can be extremely dangerous for driving simply because the state does not have the same snow removal and salting equipment as many of the northern states. If you are caught in one of these rare events; get home as safely as possible or to a safe place.
The state is also subject to hurricanes and tornadoes. Hurricanes come in off the gulf coast with some of the largest and most devastating hurricanes in US history striking the state including Camille in 1969 and Katrina in 2005. As one of the states with the most F5 tornadoes on record with 7, Mississippi is subject to 27 tornadoes on average every year. If you are caught in these types of storms on a roadway be sure to stay out of floodwaters and get to low ground or a safe area as soon as possible.
Tort law & Pure Comparative
Unfortunately because of the condition of roadways, the state’s unusually high number of uninsured drivers, a litigious legal system of tort law and pure comparative fault rules, the state has an unreasonably high insurance cost per driver, 11th in the nation. In respect to the state’s population and size, it is quite high in comparison.
As an at fault state drivers have options to make claims against their own insurance, the insurance of the at fault driver or in civil lawsuits. The pure comparative rule in the state allows even an at fault driver to collect some damages as long as they are not considered 100% at fault. Drivers in Mississippi are encouraged to purchase insurance including uninsured and underinsured coverage as more than 1 in 5 accidents will involve an uninsured driver.
DUI in Mississippi
DUI in Mississippi includes drugs and medications. The state legislatively prohibits the lesser charge known as ‘wet reckless’ that some other states use for plea agreement deals. As an implied consent state you are also obligated to submit to roadside chemical testing or hospital testing as requested. Should you refuse the penalties of refusal are actually more severe than the first offense of DUI in the state.
With a relatively minor 90 day license suspension for a first offense, no ignition interlock device on first offenses and the potential for zero jail time, a first DUI in Mississippi is quite light in comparison to many other states. However, second, third and underage offences are in line with most other states including suspensions of one year, fines, jail time, IID requirements and reinstatement fees.
No Points System
With no demerit point system for the state, drivers are assessed fines for traffic violations. However, penalties for multiple convictions are assessed at traffic court and can include license suspension and driver improvement programs.
Did You Know That…
1. The Mississippi River forms the western border of the state.
2. The state has an at fault insurance system and requires insurance coverage.
3. Jackson is the capital with only 175,000 people.
4. Mississippi is mostly rural with most of the state covered in wild forests.
5. It has had 7 F5 tornadoes.
6. The state prohibits the charge of “wet reckless’”as a plea bargain for DUI.
7. Mississippi is bordered on the north by Tennessee.
8. Cotton is still the most important crop in the state.
9. with the 11th most expensive insurance cost in the US, it is considerably higher than where it should be.
10. Elvis Presley was born in Mississippi.