How Hazardous Roadways Contribute to Accidents

You know the drill. Accidents happen due to driver error, carelessness, and/or distraction. Well, that’s true in many instances, but not all of them. Roadway hazards often play a large part in accidents, and in fact, often cause them.

Unfortunately, no matter how vigilant of a driver you are, you may not see a road hazard until it’s too late to avoid it. Some of the most common road hazards you need to watch out for include the following:

  • Animals, either alive or dead
  • Stalled or disabled vehicles
  • Accident investigations
  • Rough road patches
  • Loose gravel
  • Bumpy edges
  • Uneven expansion joints
  • Slick road surfaces due to rain or oil
  • Standing water
  • Debris from trees, grasses or other nearby plants and flora
  • Snow
  • Ice, especially black ice
  • Objects that have fallen from another vehicle

Speaking of animals, deer and other wild animals appearing suddenly on a roadway pose a huge danger to drivers, especially during the hours between dusk and dawn. When driving at night in rural areas or known wild animal areas, it’s best to drive with your brights on. This will give you a better chance of seeing animals near the roadway. And remember, if you see one, there likely are others nearby.

Deteriorating Infrastructure

No matter where you live, your local politicians likely decry America’s crumbling infrastructure, especially at election time. But they’re right. The Interstate system was started back in the 1950s when Eisenhower was president. In fact, it’s his signature accomplishment. Many of today’s most heavily traveled bridges were built much earlier than that. For instance, San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge was constructed in 1933.

With so many of our roads and bridges in a state of disrepair, the possibility of road hazards caused by this disrepair poses an almost never-ending danger. Obviously, you have no way of avoiding driving on a deteriorating roadway, but when you do, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Potholes
  • Uneven driving lanes
  • Crumbling edges
  • Cracks in the pavement
  • Faded pavement areas
  • Narrow shoulders
  • Damaged or broken guardrails
  • Damaged or broken road signs

Construction Zones

Roadways generally have a life expectancy of around 20 years. For many areas of the country, especially the urban areas, this means that your year has five seasons: summer, fall, winter, spring, and orange barrel season. The latter often lasts nine months out of the year.

Construction zones pose numerous hazards that make driving difficult if not nearly impossible. Hazardous roadways under construction are notoriously hazardous places full of such things as the following:

  • Construction vehicles and materials
  • Construction workers
  • Closed lanes
  • Concrete barriers diverting traffic from one lane to another
  • Warning signs and/or lights
  • Narrow and/or uneven lanes
  • Speed limit decreases, some of them abruptly
  • Traffic jams
  • Angry and frustrated drivers

It goes without saying that about the only things you can do if you’re stuck in a construction zone is to slow down, obey all signs, drive extra carefully, and try your best to control your temper. If it’s summer, you should also refrain from running your air conditioner full blast. This could easily make your car overheat, resulting in your becoming one more hazard in an already hazardous situation.

 


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