Getting behind the wheel of an automobile is always a risk. Thousands of pounds of metal, glass, and plastic moving at a high rate of speed can cause serious damage if things go wrong. Dangerous road conditions are among the many things that can go wrong while driving. Every year in the State of Arizona, unfavorable road conditions cause a significant amount of traffic accidents.
In this article, we’re going to examine some of the more common types of dangerous road conditions that you might encounter while driving. When you’re aware of the types of condition that exist, you can better prepare yourself to handle the threats that they present in order to arrive at your destination safely.
As you are driving, you depend on road signs for information. They give you directions. They provide you with warnings. They help you make the decisions that will get you to your destination safely. This is why damaged or missing road signs are a safety hazard. For example, if a directional road sign is missing or damaged, drivers are going to take their attention away from oncoming road conditions in order to try to determine where they are. If the damaged or missing sign is giving drivers a warning about upcoming conditions, say a stop sign or a merge instruction, drivers could come upon the changed traffic conditions with little or no time to react. In short, road signs reduce driver confusion. When they are missing or damaged, driver confusion rises and a confused driver is an unsafe driver.
The shoulder of the road is essential to safe driving. When an emergency arises, the shoulder gives the driver a place to drive their vehicle out of the way of traffic. It provides a reasonably safe shelter that allows a driver to examine their vehicle and summon help without impeding other vehicles on the roadway.
The shoulder of the road should always meet the surface of the main road evenly. However, if the shoulder has been improperly designed or maintained, the junction between the road and the shoulder is uneven. A driver who unexpectedly encounters these uneven surfaces could overcorrect the movement of their vehicle onto the shoulder, which would cause them to lose control.
Potholes represent a significant risk to driver safety. If a pothole is deep enough, it can cause serious damage to a vehicle’s suspension and steering mechanisms. However, even the most minor of potholes can be dangerous if a driver unexpectedly swerves to avoid one. The movement of the car to avoid the pothole can take other drivers by surprise and place the vehicle in the path of oncoming traffic.
A curve is nothing more than an angle designed to take traffic traveling in one direction and move it into another direction without a significant loss of speed. In the vast majority of cases, that angle is shallow enough to accomplish the redirection of traffic without incident. However, when a curve has been poorly designed, the angle of the turn in the road is sharper than drivers are prepared for. As a result, some drivers may be unable to safely negotiate the turn. This could cause their vehicle to leave the roadway, causing injury and possibly death as they lose control.
Standing water on the surface of a road represents a significant safety hazard. To start, standing water is largely invisible to a driver until they are right on top of the hazard. When the driver begins to break in response to water, the vehicle’s tires may hydroplane, or slightly leave the surface of the road. This reduces the ability of the tires to grip the road surface. A skid that may become uncontrollable is the result. Pooled or standing water can be the result of improper road planning, design, or maintenance.
A heavy amount of traffic at an intersection may make the use of a traffic control device necessary. Either a stop sign or a stoplight may be installed to keep traffic moving safely. Both stop signs and stoplights control the flow of traffic in both (or several) directions at an intersection. This allows drivers traveling in any direction through the intersection to do so without incident. A lack of traffic control devices when needed can cause drivers to head through an intersection without stopping. If road conditions are less than ideal, this could cause a collision and result in injuries and/or death.
Even the most careful drivers require a clear view of the upcoming roadway in order to operate their vehicle safely. If there are objects adjacent to the road that impede a clear view ahead, they can increase the risk that a driver traveling on the road will not be prepared for upcoming traffic conditions. For example, a stop sign that controls the flow of traffic through an intersection serves no purpose if a driver can’t see it because of bushes or tall grass. In such a case, a driver could head into the intersection oblivious of the risk involved in such an action.
When you drive at night, you greatly increase the chances that you will be involved in a car accident. The reason for this is obvious – we cannot see as well at night as we do during the daytime. This is why adequate street lighting is a necessary component of being able to operate a motor vehicle safely at night. When street lighting is inadequate, a driver’s view of the road ahead is inadequate as well. He are she is unable to see dangerous road conditions, obstructions and even other vehicles. The result of this inability to see can be catastrophic.