Reckless drivers. Inclement weather. Faulty brakes. Speeding.
These are all common hazards that can lead to auto accidents and injuries in North Miami Beach and around South Florida. But research has found that dangerous roadway conditions rank among the highest of car accident causing road hazards. Year after year, studies have demonstrated that roadway defects and design deficiency contribute to as much as a third of all serious car, truck, and motorcycle accidents nationwide. And in many accidents attributed to human error, evidence shows that dangerous road environments often make would-be minor accidents much more serious.
Throughout the year, thousands of drivers fall victim to fatal auto accidents in South Florida and throughout the US due to poorly designed roads, construction errors, and maintenance negligence. While both Florida and federal law require cities and counties to build and maintain safe roadways, it can be difficult to hold every single road and highway to this standard.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common dangerous road conditions that often contribute to serious and fatal accidents.
Hazardous obstacles. Dangerous road obstacles such as fallen trees, car parts, debris, and potholes can take drivers by surprise, force them to swerve out of their lane, and cause serious accidents. Government agencies in charge of roads have a responsibility to remove hazardous obstacles in a timely manner.
Hazardous surfaces. Roads can become hazardous when the pavement surface does not have sufficient skid resistance or safety measures, or when poor drainage systems cause hydroplaning or ponding.
Dangerous intersections. A significant portion of all auto accidents occur at intersections. Dangerous conditions such as malfunctioning or confusing traffic signs and sharp or narrow roads can triple the likelihood of an intersection accident, making it even more difficult for drivers to safely make their way through this already-challenging area.
Insufficient traffic signals and signage. Missing, confusing, defective, or improper traffic signals and warning signs can cause confusion, chaos, and accidents on roadways.
Insufficient pedestrian accommodations. Serious, often fatal pedestrian accidents often occur when roadways do not have proper crosswalks, pedestrian islands, and other pedestrian safety measures.
Insufficient cyclist accommodations. Bike accidents are frequently caused by absent or improperly designed bike lanes. Much like pedestrian accidents, accidents involving a car and a cyclist are often fatal.
Dangerous parking policies. Drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike are at risk when dangerous parking policies limit visibility.
Poor shoulder design. If the shoulder of a road does not have sufficient room, drivers exiting their cars may be hit by passing vehicles. A road shoulder should also have a level slope to prevent rollover accidents.
Poor exit ramp design. Merging becomes a dangerous task for drivers when exit ramps are too short or positioned improperly.
Poor lighting design. Both overly bright lights and insufficient nighttime lighting can make it difficult for drivers to see. With limited vision, drivers are far more likely to hit another car, pedestrian, or cyclist.
Dangerous drop-offs. Ravines, cliffs, and other street drop-offs must have safety guards or other safety measures to keep cars from unintentionally veering over the edge.
Hazardous median barriers. When positioned improperly, median barriers can be the cause of head-on crashes with approaching vehicles.
Shoddy construction. Roadways may weaken, collapse, and become unsafe if road builders fail to follow approved plans, make negligent errors, or use poor quality building materials.
If you have been involved in an auto accident that you suspect was caused by dangerous roadway conditions, you should contact an experienced North Miami Beach auto accident attorney immediately. Determining and proving that an accident was caused by poor roadway design can be tricky, often requiring a thorough investigation and examination by engineers and other experts.
A lawyer can help you hold the responsible parties accountable, assisting you in collecting evidence, consulting with expert witnesses, and conducting investigations. With the help of a top attorney, you can file a claim against the liable parties to secure compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs related to recovery. If a defective roadway is caused by the negligence of a city, county or other municipality, it is important to understand that bringing claims against government entities requires a host of additional considerations.