Motor vehicle accidents are often caused by a driver’s poor decisions, behaviors or actions. At other times, car wrecks are caused by defective parts or other issues outside of drivers’ control. Sometimes, the very roads constructed to keep drivers safe can cause accidents.
Disintegration of roads and bridges, broken pieces of cement or road materials, traffic cones, signage and issues of road construction can cause dangerous road conditions leading to accidents.
How Roads Deteriorate
State and local roads require funding for construction, maintenance and repair. Gaining funding for these projects takes a very long time, as does completion of the projects once funding is approved. Government funding keeps bridges in good shape, roads free of potholes and disintegration of roadways from occurring. Even slightly damaged roads can cause major accidents involving multiple vehicles, leading to injuries and even causing death. When funding for road safety is not available, the roads we use every day can become more dangerous than the drivers using them.
Today’s road construction quality helps roads to last about 20 years before a major reconstruction effort must be undertaken. Regular maintenance is extremely important throughout these two decades of a road’s lifetime, with routine maintenance not being effective after the road’s lifetime has passed. This is because at the end of the 20 years, underlying issues are too great to be fixed by resurfacing or filling of cracks and potholes. Neglect of aging roads is a problem when funds are not available for reconstruction.
Dangers Associated with Infrastructure
Bridges have gained a lot of press exposure in recent years, as American bridges and infrastructure as a whole are aging. Aging bridges pose great danger, even when they appear to the naked eye to be sound. Bridges become less structurally sound over time and eventually start to fall apart. They must be repaired or even reconstructed to ensure the public and all vehicles crossing over or under them are safe.
Driver behaviors and hazards from vehicles always pose danger to other cars on roads today. But when freeways or other highways are allowed to fall into disrepair, hazards are greater and can result in even more catastrophic accidents. Potholes, narrowing shoulders, crumbling sides of the road, uneven lanes and cracking surfaces can cause vehicles to lose control, leading to a serious accident causing injuries or death.
Road Construction Dangers
Road construction is a terribly hazardous situation for both drivers and workers completing construction on the road. Many collisions occur in road construction areas, as drivers try to swerve away from workers in the road, maneuver changing circumstances of the road, handle their vehicle in more constrictive space or otherwise drive where construction is underway. All of the distractions of road construction being completed on an open road often cause drivers to make drastic mistakes, too.
Paving materials used for repair or construction of a road can cause problems for drivers trying to see where they are going. Temporary signage may be placed improperly or incorrect in information provided to drivers. Lane closures slow and confuse drivers and often cause accidents. Speed limit decreases for construction safety are often disregarded or cause aggressive drivers to become more dangerous. Construction vehicles cause traffic congestion, block roadways and may throw debris onto cars behind them, causing cracked windshields and even accidents.
When road construction is being completed, it is critical that all drivers navigating the hazardous area are alert and obey all warning signs. Of course, the nature of these areas and changes to once-familiar roads creates the perfect circumstances for accidents.
Indicators of Road Hazards
When roads are in disrepair, it is important to be aware of these hazards and how they can cause accidents. By simply paying attention to the surfaces driven upon and environments around roads, drivers can avoid many accidents.
Some common indicators of road disrepair include potholes, faded striping, faded areas of pavement, cracks across the road, uneven surfaces, or loose gravel. Drivers should be particularly alert when their vehicle jostles about when changing lanes or driving on particular stretches of the road. Guard rails can become hazards when a vehicle has hit them and peeled them out of place, protruding into a lane or no longer providing protection at the side of the road. Damaged signs, covered signs or missing signage can be indicators of general disrepair of roads and the need to be particularly cautious for other road hazards.
When Road Conditions Cause Accidents
Government and private businesses often hold liability when road conditions cause auto accidents. This is because they are responsible for designing, building, maintaining and reconstructing safe roads. When accidents are caused due to poor road conditions, the government and business representatives may be held liable for compensation.
Federal, state and local governments often specify obligations and responsibilities of those tasked with maintaining safe roadways.
When you or someone you love have been injured in an accident or suffered property damage caused by issues with a road, bridge or other infrastructure, government or private businesses may be responsible. An experienced auto accident attorney can help determine where responsibility may exist and whether negligence was the cause of the auto accident. It is possible to gain compensation for injuries and damages resulting from car accidents caused by dangerous road conditions.