Road hazards are unpredictable and difficult to detect until it is too late. Hundreds of accidents happen in Texas every year due to damaged and poorly maintained roads. Road hazards often result from improper upkeep from roadway crews and the government bodies in charge of inspecting the roads for hazards and making timely repairs.
The entities in charge of road maintenance in Texas are the state itself, the county, and/or the municipality. The federal government may be in charge of road upkeep on interstate highways. Knowing common road hazards will help you recognize and avoid them in the future.
Potholes in asphalt roads do not occur at random – they come from the presence of water in the underlying soil structure. Water enters the underlying soil, weakening it. Then, traffic on the road wears out and breaks the badly supported asphalt. Continued traffic continues to break and eject the asphalt and soil to create a dangerous hole in the pavement.
There are risk factors a crew of men can detect to prevent the formation of potholes, such as excessive heat or cold temperatures. During the creation of the road, adequate drainage structures can prevent water from having access to the underlying soil structure. Preventative maintenance can catch the formation of a pothole in the beginning stages and make repairs before its formation.
When municipalities fail to repair potholes, they pose a threat to bicyclists, motorcyclists, and motor vehicles. Potholes can cause major damage to vehicles, popping tires and causing accidents. Some people may swerve to avoid hitting a pothole, drifting into other lanes or losing control of the vehicle. A bicyclist who hits a pothole may fall off the bike and into the road.
Avoid a pothole accident by trying not to drive directly over them. Do not swerve out of your lane to avoid a pothole. Instead, slow your vehicle down safely and ride over the pothole at a slow, steady speed. Potholes cost the state of Texas millions of dollars to fix, but they can avoid the additional costs of personal injury lawsuits with proper maintenance.
Overgrown Trees and Bushes
Overgrown, unkempt trees and bushes can pose multiple threats to road user safety. Overgrown trees can hit power lines, creating a dangerous electrical fire or power outage. Bushes and trees that the state or county does not trim back can block important road signs and traffic lights, leading to harmful collisions.
Old, rotten trees by the roadway can easily collapse into the road, striking a vehicle or pedestrian and causing a major collision hazard. Avoid this hazard by constantly paying attention to the road. You can likely notice a fallen tree or half-hidden road sign if you’re watching the road carefully.
Malfunctioning Traffic Lights
Traffic lights are an integral part of Texas’s roadways and the safety of citizens. Malfunctioning traffic lights can lead to missed red lights, false green lights, and major intersection collisions. When the city fails to repair broken traffic lights right away, it can lead to a disaster. It can be difficult to avoid danger from a malfunctioning traffic light, other than to be vigilant behind the wheel and look both ways before driving, even if you have a green light.
Even when trying to repair the roads, a negligent crew or site manager can present a road hazard. Road construction barriers, machinery, equipment, and vehicles improperly parked on the shoulder or impeding traffic without warning can lead to devastating collisions.
If an accident involving a road hazard outside of your control injured you, you may be the victim of state, city, or federal government negligence. Speak to an attorney regarding your accident to find out if you have a case against a governmental body for failure to maintain the roads.