The Most Common Dangerous Road Conditions

When it comes to car wrecks, seasoned drivers have seen and experienced a lot. Most of the motor vehicle accidents we observe are based on the negligence of one or more of the drivers involved in the crash.

For example, statistics tell us that a huge number of accidents involving both automobiles and semi-trucks are based upon distracted driving. Sometimes we see vehicles zooming by at high rates of speed, following too closely, weaving, and engaging in other dangerous maneuvers. We also know that drivers cause accidents when they are not properly rested and when they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. And sometimes, semi-trucks cause crashes because their tractors, trailers, and related mechanical systems have not been properly maintained.

But there are times that even safe drivers are thrown a curveball. Dangerous road conditions can catch even the safest of drivers off guard. Examples include construction defects, design defects, and negligent maintenance of roadways. These issues can cause accidents even when the drivers themselves are behaving reasonably and safely.

In this article, we’ll discuss some common dangerous road conditions that can lead to car accidents and personal injury.

Dangerous Road Designs

According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the Federal Highway Administration’s statistics provide that 4.18 million miles of road existed in America in 2017. We all know that as the country continues to grow, those numbers will only increase. As new roads are planned, designed, and constructed, engineers, builders, and other professionals must take into consideration many factors, such as geography, population, and expected usage rate in an effort to make roadways safe.

In the great majority of projects, they succeed. However, in some circumstances, roadways turn out to be unsafe and play a role in causing accidents.

A few examples of dangerous designs include the following:

  • Dangerous curves and overly sharp turns – Most drivers have experienced a scary moment from entering a curve that was unexpectedly sharp.
  • Inadequate drainage – When roads don’t drain properly, standing water becomes a big concern. A car can start hydroplaning in the blink of an eye.
  • Improperly graded roads – These roads can lead to drainage issues, as discussed above. Improperly graded roads can also lead to expanded speed differential between vehicles traveling on the road, which is less safe. For example, a large semi-truck can lose a tremendous amount of speed trying to climb a grade that is too steep.

Other Dangerous Road Conditions

Lots of different road conditions can increase the chance of an accident. A few are discussed below. Most of these conditions are most dangerous when the driver is not aware in advance that they exist.

  • Large shoulder drop-offs – From time to time, drivers drift too far to the right (or swerve to avoid a danger), causing the vehicle’s wheels to leave the road and enter the shoulder. If the drop-off is too great, the chances of an accident are increased.
  • Confusing road signs or absence of signs – Drivers constantly obtain important information from road signs. It’s especially important in an area where a driver is not familiar with traffic patterns. If a sign is missing, a driver may not understand that he or she is supposed to stop, drive at a lower speed, or travel in only one direction on a particular roadway.
  • Insufficient barriers dividing directions of travel – When cars are traveling in opposite directions at high rates of speed, head-on collisions can be devastating. Having appropriate physical barriers between the lanes going in opposite directions reduces the chance of a dangerous collision.
  • Lack of guardrails – Guardrails can help stop a car that leaves the road from crashing into something dangerous, such as a wall, bridge, tree or other traffic. 
  • Potholes

Call with Questions

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, please call us with your questions. The experienced Oregon personal injury attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield can help you determine if another driver was negligent, or if your accident was caused by a dangerous road condition for which you would be entitled to recover damages. Even if you were involved in a one-car accident, you may have rights.

We feel strongly that it is important to hold all wrongdoers accountable for their behavior so that society will be safer in the future for all of us.


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