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Road Conditions & Auto Accidents


The following factors affecting road conditions may play a role in a motor vehicle accident:

Road Design

The design of a roadway can contribute to accidents, by making it more difficult to see other vehicles, creating hazardous pinch points, presenting dangerous obstacles for drivers, or increasing susceptibility to weather conditions. Inadequate signage or signals, or their poor placement, can confuse drivers or make it more difficult to anticipate potential hazards. The alignment of a road, the degree to which it is banked, the adequacy of nighttime lighting, the visibility of road markings, and the nature and condition of the surface material, can all contribute to road safety.

For public roads, lawsuits alleging negligence in the design and construction of a road may be defended with a claim of sovereign immunity. As sovereign immunity laws can vary significantly by state, and analysis of immunity claims can be complex, after an accident where design may have been a factor it is beneficial to consult a lawyer who is experienced with road design claims.

Poor Maintenance

The failure to properly maintain a road can contribute to an accident, through such factors as the accumulation of debris on the road, the presence of potholes or other wear, deterioration or fading of road signs, overgrown trees and foliage that obstructs a driver's line of sight or obscures signage, and inadequate snow removal or insufficient salting and sanding. As with road design claims, governmental immunity may be available as a defense when inadequate maintenance contributes to an auto accident. There may also be issues of notice, where the governmental unit or agency responsible for maintaining a road is not aware of the dangerous condition, or has not had adequate time to respond and render the road safe.

Bad Weather

As a result of bad weather, road surfaces may become slippery or slick. Accumulation of water, slush, ice and snow can present hazards to motorists. The manner in which other drivers react to the weather, whether through an extreme excess of caution or a disregard of the dangers posed by the weather conditions, can also contribute to the probability of an accident. When weather conditions render driving unsafe, drivers should attempt to find a safe place to get off the road and wait for the weather to improve. If you are driving at a time of year when you are likely to have your windshield splattered with dirty water, mud, slush, or salt, before driving make sure that you have a good supply of windshield solvent.