One of the leading causes of auto accidents is bad road conditions. Close to 20 percent of all traffic fatalities involve a single car that runs off the road, which then either crashes into a fixed object or rolls over onto its side or roof.
The government may try to argue that these types of wrecks are a direct result of driver error; however, bad road conditions are often a major contributing factor in these accidents.
Auto accidents often occur in construction zones. Even after road construction has been completed, the actions of construction workers could increase the risk of a crash. Failure to properly follow approved plans, the uses sub-par materials or poor workmanship can all decrease the quality of road conditions and increase the likelihood of a collision.
The design of a road or highway often plays a huge role in the type of accident that occurs. Some of the most common road design flaws that will result in a crash include:
- Shoulders that are not visibly distinct
- Poor drainage that can result in ponding and hydroplaning
- Dangerous street drop-offs, like ravines or cliffs
- Poorly placed signs and traffic signals
- Pavement with inadequate skid resistance
- Hazards obstructing visibility at intersections and crosswalks
- Absent, defective or improper warning signs
- Defective or missing guard rails
- Dangerous slopes and dips in road layout
- Parking policies that limit visibility at a dangerous intersection
- Entrance and exit ramps that are too short or don’t allow safe merging
- Dangerous curves
Even the best designed and constructed roads require routine maintenance in order to keep them safe. When road surfaces become damaged with potholes, for example, a car may hit the hole at an odd angle, causing the vehicle to spin and collide with other vehicles and obstacles in the road. Old guardrails are also often overlooked; they can become hazardous when they lose the strength necessary to keep vehicles on the road.
Failure to Adapt
Sometimes the government will fail to make road changes to adapt to new conditions. They will often attribute this to budget cuts and lack of funding. Common examples of conditions the government may neglect to fix include:
- Ignoring evidence that accidents keep occurring on a certain road due to bad conditions
- Changing patterns by pedestrians and vehicles
- Road cave-ins
- Dangerous road subsidence, or sinking