Explore the factors influencing road safety. From design flaws to environmental conditions, uncover why certain roads pose higher risks for drivers.
Regardless of where you live, there always seems to be at least one road everyone wants to avoid. These are the roads where accident rates are higher than normal. Even the most cautious drivers run into difficulties navigating these roads.
So, what are the factors contributing to dangerous roads? These factors can vary from poor design to oddly placed road signs. To help inform you better, here’s a look at what makes a road dangerous, regardless of how carefully you drive.
Factors Affecting Road Safety
Sometimes, a road comes with a warning sign, and this is great. You have the chance to take another, safer route. However, sometimes the dangerous road conditions come as a surprise, and you’re stuck navigating the hazards.
Potholes are the bane of every driver. Even a small pothole can leave your car bouncing. Now, you’re worried about your alignment. That’s if your tire isn’t blown. Yep, blown tires are a common result of driving over potholes.
Here’s a fun fact you may not want to know. According to AAA, potholes are responsible for causing an estimated $3 billion in vehicle damage every year. Potholes can also cause vehicle accidents, and the damage can be substantial.
Have you ever looked at an upcoming turn and wondered what the road engineer was thinking? Sharp turns typically come with warning signs, but this doesn’t eliminate all of the potential danger. If you try to take the turn too fast, your vehicle can skid out of control. Losing control of your vehicle often results in an accident. The accident may only involve your vehicle, but suddenly, you’re dealing with car repair expenses.
Confusing or Missing Road Signs
Road signs are intended to keep drivers informed. The signs can indicate sharp turns, speed limits, and let you know when a lane is ending. Sometimes, you find yourself on a road with conflicting signs. Are you supposed to get ready to merge or stay in your lane?
If the speed limit sign is missing, can you still receive a traffic ticket? The answer to this question is yes but there’s a chance you can fight the ticket in court. Your ticket may be reduced due to the lack of signage.
Sometimes, road crews are running behind. Road signs can be hidden behind trees and overgrown bushes. A stop sign may be missing from an intersection. You may think you have the right of way until you’re involved in a car accident. Now, you and the other driver are trying to decide who’s at fault for the accident.
Icy or Snow-Covered Roads
Bad weather can make roads slippery and dangerous for drivers. Unfortunately, there usually aren’t any road signs warning you about the potential danger. Along with sliding and losing control of your vehicle, there’s also the risk of being involved in an accident.
If you do find yourself driving on slick roads, you can take a couple of steps to try and avoid being in a wreck. If the vehicle starts sliding, don’t slam on the brakes. Instead, gradually apply pressure to the pedal. If your vehicle starts sliding, don’t panic; you can regain control.
Turn the steering wheel slowly in the opposite direction you want your car to go. This may seem counterintuitive, but it will help you straighten out the vehicle.
Missing or Faded Lane Lines
You have a pretty good idea of where your lane is and the one next to you. However, do you really want to play a guessing game, especially on two-lane roads? You can easily misjudge the distance and find yourself in an accident with an oncoming vehicle.
If you find yourself on a road with missing or faded lines, take it slow. Don’t try and speed through to a safer area. If you’re unsure of the clearance in the other lane, you can always pull over whenever another vehicle is coming at you. If you take your time, you can get through without being involved in a car wreck.
You may not notice guardrails until one or more is missing from the side of the road. Now, you’re staring at a steep drop-off, and this can be nerve-racking. The guardrail is there to keep your vehicle safe on the road. If you’re involved in an accident, the guardrail can help prevent your vehicle from going over the edge.
Not all roads have guardrails; this is more common on mountain roads, especially in more rural areas. There’s really nothing you can do about the drop-off except go slowly and don’t look down. You can minimize your risk a little by driving closer to the center of the road. However, keep an eye out for oncoming vehicles. The last thing you want is to be involved in a head-on collision.
Roads Improperly Graded
Grading refers to the road’s surface. The best roads have a smooth and even surface. Over time, roads can wear down, resulting in uneven surfaces and pooling water. Both of these can increase your risk of being in a vehicle accident.
Staying Safe on Dangerous Roads
You probably can’t avoid every dangerous road, regardless of how carefully you plan your route. Some hazardous roads may not even be marked on maps. So, what can you do to minimize your chances of being involved in a traffic accident? Some tips include:
- Always wear your seatbelt. Not only can it help minimize your injuries if an accident occurs, but it’s also the law.
- Pay attention to the posted speed limit. The speed limit is often in place to help prevent accidents.
- Never drive while under the influence. This behavior is illegal and increases your chances of being involved in an accident.
You also want to stay alert on dangerous roads. Actually, this applies every time you get behind the wheel. Whenever possible, try to plan your route around dangerous roads. This may increase your travel time, but at least you’re reducing your risk of being involved in an accident.