Driving requires attention to your surroundings as well as attention to the road in front of you. You should be vigilant while monitoring the signage on the road as well as the conditions of the road itself. Your safety depends on your level of awareness while you drive.
Let’s first examine the causes of car accidents. We will touch on driver mistakes and vehicle malfunctions before discussing the kinds of road conditions that can be potentially hazardous.
Causes of Car Accidents
People are fallible. Sometimes they make poor choices even while behind the wheel of a car. Distraction, recklessness due to anger or inattention, and negligence are all potential causes of car accidents. While most car accidents are the result of driver negligence, there are also a number of crashes that happen each year because of bad roads and missing or incorrect signage. (1)
Truthfully, many accidents shouldn’t be attributed to just one cause. Multiple factors contribute to the occurrence. Driver mistakes (which are considered the cause of about 77% of accidents), vehicle malfunctions, and the condition of the road being traveled combine to create the catalyst for an accident. No matter which cause has been identified in an accident, a car accident lawyer in St Petersburg can help identify the rights and responsibilities of the involved parties.
In the category of accident causes, the one that is totally beyond the control of the individual is the road conditions. Driver mistakes can be corrected with diligence or driver safety classes. Vehicle malfunctions can be prevented (potentially) with routine maintenance and owner care. Road conditions, though, are someone else’s responsibility and are sometimes beyond any human’s control.
Types of Bad Road Conditions
When we hear bad road conditions, we often immediately think of weather conditions as the issue. We think of wet roads due to rain, slick roads due to snow, sleet, or icy conditions. But this is only one type of bad road condition that we should be noticing.
Let’s look at the kinds of road conditions that can be considered bad road conditions.
1. Weather: If the road is wet or covered in snow, sleet, or ice, it can cause issues for drivers. Sliding or hydroplaning can lead to an accident caused by a driver losing control of the vehicle. Drivers should be aware of weather-related road conditions and adjust speeds and travel times to proceed with an air of caution.
2. Potholes: All drivers have seen potholes, literal holes in the road caused by the pavement breaking down, and most attempt to avoid them if possible. Sometimes they are large enough that they are unavoidable. Hitting a pothole can cause issues like a blowout that results in an accident.
3. Cracks: Occasionally a road cracks rather than developing an actual pothole. Cracks are typically caused by the asphalt retracting and expanding in hot or cold conditions.
4. Uneven Surfaces: If you’ve ever happened upon a road construction site in progress you’ve seen uneven surfaces. Road construction isn’t the only cause of uneven road surfaces, but it is one of the causes. If your tire veers onto a lower surface than the rest of your car, you could experience a blowout or a loss of control that causes an accident.
5. Sinkholes: A sinkhole is caused when water seeps into the ground beneath the surface and the soil and rock beneath the surface begin to dissolve. Sometimes, a sinkhole forms beneath the surface of the road. This can cause uneven surfaces, cracks, and even actual holes in the road.
6. Debris: At times there will be trash, limbs, rocks, or trees in the roadway. This debris poses a danger to motorists. Suddenly hitting debris can send your car out of control causing an accident.
Sometimes road hazards are not considered when deciding the at-fault status in an accident. If this should happen to you, a car accident lawyer St Petersburg Fl might be able to help you.
What Can Be Done About Bad Road Conditions?
If the conditions are unfavorable due to weather, there isn’t much that can be done about it. Drivers can choose to stay off the roads during bad weather. Counties, cities, and municipalities can opt to close the road either by issuing a verbal road closure or blockading the road to keep drivers away. While closures and blockades are designed to help eliminate the occurrence of accidents by removing drivers from the road, their effectiveness relies upon driver cooperation.
Potholes and cracks in a road’s surface can be filled. However, if these measures are not completed carefully and correctly, the repairs could simply be a band-aid that eventually requires more extensive road work. There are ways to repair uneven surfaces, and, though more difficult, sinkholes as well. Those solutions take time, money, and, sometimes, wading through political red tape to implement.
Road conditions can be a cause of vehicle damage and even accidents. Drivers need to be vigilant in safely navigating when conditions are hazardous. Sometimes accidents occur and drivers are ruled at fault without consideration of the conditions of the road. If this happens to you, contact a car accident lawyer in St Petersburg to learn if there are any legal actions you can take in this situation.
1. I hit a pothole on the road and blew my tire. Subsequently, I was thrown into oncoming traffic and had an accident. Can I sue the city/county where the accident occurred?
Every situation where road hazards have been a factor in an accident is different. Contact a car accident lawyer St Petersburg FL to learn how the road hazard in your situation affects your ability to file a claim in your case.
2. The road between my office and home is closed due to a sinkhole. There has been no effort to repair it. Can I file a case to recoup lost wages?
Several factors must be considered before you have a viable lawsuit. Not the least of which is, do you have an alternative route to work? For more information on your legal rights in this situation contact a car accident lawyer in St Petersburg.