There are dangerous roads in every state and major city, including here in Chicago. There can be a disproportionate number of accidents that occur on a particular street or intersection, not because of reckless drivers but because of unsafe road conditions that increase the likelihood of a crash.
These conditions can include poor design, improper maintenance and exposure to harmful elements.
Poorly designed roads
Road design has a considerable impact on the safety of motorists. For instance, residents blame poor design for the high number of crashes that occur at one intersection with blind left turns, a lack of traffic signals and high speeds.
Design flaws can include:
- Misappropriation of space
- Poor traffic control measures
- Lack of bicycle lanes and sidewalks
- Poor signage
- Improper lighting
- Unsafe speed limits
These flaws can mean a road is all but designed to cause accidents.
Poorly maintained roads
Road surfaces can put motorists at risk if parties, including municipal entities, do not adequately maintain them. Proper road maintenance can include:
- Repairing road surfaces
- Installing adequate lighting
- Replacing missing signage
- Clearing snow and ice from the road
- Removing obstructions and debris
If these efforts are lacking, severe and preventable accidents can happen.
They do not protect against harmful elements.
Extreme weather, animals and geographical elements can be more likely to cause accidents on certain roads. And failing to take these into account when designing and maintaining roads can be a recipe for disaster. For instance:
- Steep, narrow streets require diligent clearing efforts to keep them safe
- Warning signs can be necessary for areas around wildlife
- Barriers and fences can prevent cars from going off cliffs or bridges
- Proper landscaping can remove obstacles that obscure vision or traffic signals
Natural elements may not seem like a significant concern in urban areas like roadways, but these measures are still worth considering when it comes to traffic projects and changes.
Determining liability for accidents on dangerous roads
If an accident occurs on a dangerous road, multiple parties may be liable for damages. Individual drivers, government agencies and property owners may all be responsible for contributing to unsafe conditions that led to the crash.