Car Accidents Caused by Unsafe Road ConditionsLast updated on: December 26, 2020
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Car accidents caused by unsafe road conditions can detrimentally impact a victim’s life. Victims may sustain serious bodily injuries, emotional trauma, and property damage.
Accidents caused by unsafe road conditions involve many complex laws and regulations, especially if your claim involves suing the government entity responsible for maintaining the road.
How Do Poor Road Conditions Cause Accidents?
Many car accidents are caused by poor road conditions. These accidents often result in substantial injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Several unsafe road conditions increase the likelihood of an accident because they can be difficult to avoid. Many factors contribute to the quality and condition of a public roadway.
Unfortunately, even careful drivers can be involved in an accident if unsafe road conditions are present. Unsafe road conditions may cause a driver to unexpectedly lose control of their vehicle, which commonly results in crashes or collisions. Poor road conditions breed frustration and confusion amongst drivers. Confused drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. Ultimately, unsafe road conditions create dangerous driving environments for all people on or around a roadway.
Car accidents occur every day in the United States. These accidents are often fatal, and for those who survive, car accidents may inflict severe emotional and financial hardship into a victim’s life.
Types of Bad Road Conditions
Unsafe road conditions can create a dangerous driving environment. These road conditions may vary in likelihood depending on your location’s weather patterns. While many unsafe driving conditions may be created by unsavory weather, many are a result of municipal negligence and can be easily prevented. The most common types of bad road conditions include:
1. Missing Barriers
Guardrails and barriers serve a distinct purpose, especially in high-traffic areas. Guardrails are intended to mitigate crashes if a driver accidentally veers off of a road. Additionally, railings help drivers effectively navigate roadways by steering them in the appropriate direction, while barriers help keep opposing traffic at a safe distance. Failure to install or maintain road barriers or guardrails significantly increases the likelihood of serious accidents.
2. Missing Road Signs
Road signs give drivers the information they need to make reasonable decisions while operating a motor vehicle. They are critical for controlling the flow and speed of traffic. If a sign is missing or damaged, drivers may be unable to make driving decisions effectively. Missing signs increase the likelihood of vehicle collisions.
On average, potholes cause nearly $3 in damage to vehicles in the United States every year. Potholes also jeopardize the safety of drivers and their passengers.
4. Misleading Municipal Signs
Road signs and traffic lights are typically the same throughout the entire country so that drivers, regardless of where they are from, can understand and know what to do on an unknown road. Confusing road signs may increase the chances of an accident because drivers may not recognize or understand the sign quickly enough to respond accordingly.
Areas undergoing construction tend to be hotspots for traffic accidents. Construction zones are inherently dangerous due to the presence of heavy machinery and equipment. Additionally, construction zones change every day, which may confuse drivers who are used to following a specific roadway.
6. Faintly Painted or Deteriorated Traffic Lines
Traffic lines are extremely important on American roads because they serve as guides for drivers. These lines tell drivers where to go and stop. Unfortunately, these lines fade and degrade over time. Drivers may not be able to see faded lines, which increases the likelihood of a collision.
7. Sharp Turns and Drop-Offs
The curvature and design of an area’s roads are usually dependent on the location’s landscape. Many roads in rocky and mountainous regions have sudden turns or drop-offs that create immediate risks for drivers, especially those that are new to the area. Unexpected sharp turns can lead to severe rollover accidents.
8. Broken Traffic Lights
Like road signs, drivers rely on traffic lights to control the flow of traffic and avoid collisions in intersections. When traffic lights are defective or improperly programmed, they can lead to serious accidents.
There are many different types of unsafe road conditions. If you have been the victim of a car accident caused by poor road conditions, you may be entitled to some legal compensation for your injuries.
Types of Weather that Create Unsafe Road Conditions
In addition to the many types of bad road conditions, poor weather conditions also play a substantial role in road conditions. Specifically, weather conditions contribute to approximately 11% of all fatal car accidents in the United States. Poor weather can cause devastating automobile accidents. Although liability laws may vary depending on your jurisdiction, many states hold drivers responsible for weather-related accidents. Drivers are expected to act responsibly by reasonably responding to inclement weather. Fortunately, there are some steps that drivers can take to drive safely through inclement weather. There are a few types of weather that tend to create unsafe road conditions:
Statistically, rain is the most dangerous weather condition to drive in. Heavy rainfall can reduce road visibility, making it nearly impossible to operate a motor vehicle safely. Drivers should slow down at the first sight of rain or precipitation.
High winds are especially dangerous for larger vehicles. Wind typically reduces a driver’s steering control by pushing vehicles or causing cars to swerve. Drivers should be prepared to make steering adjustments. Driving at slower speeds may also help avoid accidents.
Fog is one of the most dangerous weather conditions for drivers. Fog is inherently dangerous because it greatly reduces road visibility. Drivers should use wipers and defrosters as necessary when driving in foggy conditions. Utilizing low-beam headlights may also increase a driver’s ability to see the road ahead of them.
Snow and Ice
Roads covered with snow and ice can be deadly if drivers do not take adequate safety measures. Wet snow or slush typically acts as a lubricant, which reduces traction for vehicles embarking on icy roadways. If you live in a colder region, it may be beneficial to invest in special equipment for your vehicle. Drivers should also avoid fast turns or quick stops on icy roadways.
Driving towards the sun, especially at sunrise or sunset, can impair your visibility. When the sun is low on the horizon, the angle of the direct sunlight creates a strong glare across the windshield. This sun glare may cause temporary blindness that makes it difficult to see the cars and people around you. Drivers should slow down and use sunglasses when visibility is reduced to mitigate their risk of harm.
Extreme weather conditions may make driving difficult and increase the risk of accidents. Thus, it is imperative that drivers know the risks of driving in inclement weather.
Who is Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions?
The laws governing car accident liability vary depending on your state.
State and local governments are often immune from civil liability suits, with a few exceptions. Often, a government’s negligent failure to maintain a roadway is one of those exceptions. Generally, the government must provide and maintain safe roads for drivers. If the state knows or should have known about an unsafe road condition, it likely has an affirmative obligation to fix it to prevent future harm. If the government fails to satisfy its obligations, it may be civilly liable for any harm that arises out of that negligence.
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents are no one’s fault. Injured parties may be responsible for some or all of their damages if the accident was not a result of some governmental failure. In other words, drivers may be held liable for weather-related accidents if there were no other intervening factors. An experienced car accident attorney may help you determine if you have a valid claim against the government for failing to repair the poor road conditions that caused your accident.
Zinda Law Group’s Experienced Attorneys MAY Help
If you or a loved one has been injured by unsafe road conditions, you should contact a lawyer who handles car accident injury lawsuits as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney may be able to help you seek legal recourse for any damages related to the accident and evaluate the specific facts of your claim.
At Zinda Law Group, we have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek the highest compensation possible after a car accident. Zinda Law Group may advise you on the best way to handle your case. The sooner you contact our office, the higher the likelihood that we will be able to assist you with your claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by unsafe road conditions, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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