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Dangerous Highway Defects Can Cause Accidents

Highway Defects, Potholes

Car accidents are caused by many things: poor driving behavior and habits, defective parts, improperly loaded large commercial trucks, alcohol impairment, night driving and the list goes on. The road you’re driving on could also be the reason. Dangerous road conditions contribute to thousands of car accidents every year.

Hazards on our roadways can be a result of poor highway design, highway defects or improper maintenance, ranging from potholes to uneven pavement, lack of guardrails, debris on the roadway and more. Highway defects often present drivers with hazards that can cause them to lose control of their vehicle and collide with other vehicles or objects causing serious injuries.


Highway Defects Result in Dangerous Roadways

Potholes are probably one of the hazards you are most familiar with. They form when part of a roadway breaks away and the smaller pieces get picked up and pushed away by wind, water and traffic. Potholes can become very deep and as such very dangerous. For instance, when your tires hit the hazard, the shock can lead to drivers losing control of the car.

Pavement Edge Drop-offs have been recognized as a potential highway safety hazard for many years. Drop-offs are created by a difference in elevation between two surfaces of the roadway (i.e., the shoulder is lower than the travel lane or the roadside area is lower than the paved shoulder).

Guardrails are a safety feature on highways and roads alerting drivers to dangerous road conditions. Their purpose is to:

  • Separate traffic driving in different directions
  • Keep drivers away from dangerous highway drop-offs
  • Prevent rollovers on steep turns
  • Divert traffic due to highway construction

Guardrails are supposed to slow cars down should they go off the road; however, if a guardrail is weak due to aging, it may not prevent an accident. Sometimes guardrails may be missing in areas where they are needed or they can be part of a poorly designed road.

Water pooling, or accumulation of water on the road, increases the chance of a driver hydroplaning and causing a serious accident. Water pooling is often a result of a defective or poorly designed road because areas form on highways where water cannot drain properly, thus allowing for water pools. Construction activity can also cause pools of water, too.

Uneven Pavement can make it difficult for drivers to steer. Construction activity can result in uneven pavement; for example, when one lane of road has been paved over and the lane next to it has not. However, this hazard can also be a result of erosion or high traffic.

Improper, damaged or missing road signs mean drivers do not get the warnings to tell them of potentially dangerous driving conditions. Road signs alert drivers to things such as:

  • Limited visibility
  • Lane closures
  • Changes in road conditions

Improper road design can include things such as:

  • Missing or inadequate traffic signals
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Blind curves
  • Overly narrow lanes
  • No shoulder or dangerous shoulder
  • Excessive grades

Poor roadway maintenance can make a roadway unsafe. This includes things such as:

  • Overgrown vegetation blocking the view of a road or sign
  • Failure to maintain traffic signs and signals
  • Having poorly marked construction zones
  • Failure to repair potholes, guardrails and other highway defects

Highway defects create extremely dangerous conditions on our Kansas City roadways. Because these cases can be complex and involve governmental or multiple parties, the best advice is to retain the services of a personal injury attorney who has experience dealing with these entities.


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