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Eight Road Conditions That Can Cause a Florida Car Accident

Experts In This Article

Cause a Florida Car AccidentAs you drive Florida’s streets, highways, and back roads, you’ll likely encounter some hazards. Unfortunately, these hazards can sometimes result in motor vehicle accidents. However, being aware of them can help you prevent an accident. Even when road hazards cause accidents and not other drivers, there may still be people or parties liable for your accident.

No matter what you believe the cause of your accident to be, it’s crucial to have an experienced Orlando car accident attorney review your accident and injuries. You might deserve compensation for your damages, but you may never know unless you get a legal opinion.

Hazardous Road Conditions to Be Aware of in Florida

Be on the lookout for these eight common Florida road hazards while behind the wheel. Being aware that they are potentially present can help prevent a serious accident, reduce the risk of injuries and even save lives.

#1. Poorly Designed Roads or Intersections

Poorly designed roadways might have sharp corners, narrow lanes, lack proper signals, and other factors that make them dangerous. However, when drivers aren’t paying attention, the risk of an accident increases significantly. Unfortunately, even when drivers are paying attention and doing all they should, accidents can still happen simply because of the poor design.

Roadway design issues can include:

  • Blind curves
  • Poor lighting
  • Steep or no shoulders leading to rollovers or drop-offs
  • Landscaping which obstructs vision
  • Curves not graded properly
  • Poorly designed intersections
  • Poor road drainage leads to standing water on the road
  • Poorly integrated managed lanes (such as HOV only lanes)

#2. Defective or Broken Guardrails

Although guardrails should protect motorists and their passengers, broken or defective guardrails are another common road hazard. Sadly, you can see thousands of dangerous and deadly guardrails on U.S. roadways. Because of design defects, some guardrails will lock up when a vehicle collides with them, causing them to become spears that might cut right through a vehicle, resulting in severe or fatal injuries to the vehicle occupants.

#3. Poor or Missing Signage

Proper road signage lets drivers know what to expect or what to do. For instance, if a stop sign is missing, a driver that doesn’t know to stop at an intersection can hit another vehicle, causing severe damage. Another example is that some of Florida’s back roads wind and curve unexpectedly, but they lack adequate signage to help warn you about the roads.

Rather, drivers must be highly cautious as they navigate underdeveloped areas. Without proper signage, sometimes drivers don’t know which lane they need to be in when roads intersect or when they need to turn. The result is driver confusion which can lead to an accident.

Crews might improperly install highway signage. Signs on the sides of highways should break away from any motor vehicles that can collide with them. When someone chooses the wrong materials for signs or does not install them properly, the signs can fall or snap down, crushing the roof of a colliding vehicle and causing serious injury to drivers and their passengers.

#4. Potholes

Potholes cost drivers in the U.S. an estimated $3 billion annually. Deep pits in the road’s asphalt can catch even the best of drivers off guard. When encountering a pothole, it’s typical for the driver to quickly swerve to avoid hitting a pothole, resulting in a crash.

These hazards are bowl-shaped openings in the road that can be up to 10 inches deep. They result from wear and tear and weathering of the roads, causing the top layer of the asphalt to wear away, exposing the concrete base. Once a pothole develops, it can grow to several feet, with rainwater accelerating its growth. Potholes can create a trap for vehicles and are one of the top causes of car accidents in the U.S.

Potholes can stress your vehicle’s suspension and shocks, which should absorb most of the impact of bumps and potholes. They can cause rather expensive damage to your car and may require an unexpected appointment with an auto mechanic. If they are deep enough, potholes can also cause an impact equivalent to that of a 35-mph car accident.

Bumpy roads are often a minor nuisance to drivers, but a street or highway littered with potholes can cause severe property damage to your vehicle. It may even result in a car accident.

#5. Shoulder Drop-Offs

Highway shoulders are safe places for stopped vehicles, but they might also be very dangerous if they aren’t properly maintained. Sometimes due to erosion or other causes, an edge drop-off develops between the road and shoulder or between two travel lanes due to road construction.

Unfortunately, the height difference between the two road surfaces often causes crashes. The uneven surface causes the vehicle to leave the roadway. When the motorist attempts to return to the travel lane, their vehicle can fishtail or travel across the center line and crash into oncoming traffic.

Shoulder edge drop-offs can occur for many reasons, for example:

  • When a road gets resurfaced without raising the height of the shoulder enough
  • When the ground abutting the shoulder (roadside) is not the same height as the shoulder

The latter causes a drop-off and leaves the shoulder unsupported laterally, further resulting in edge cracking and shoulder failure. Suppose a road has unpaved shoulders, such as those consisting of dirt, grass, stone, or other natural materials. In that case, drop-offs are often where vehicles tend to leave the paved surface.

For instance, they can be:

  • Adjacent to horizontal curves
  • Near roadside mailboxes
  • Turnarounds/unpaved pull-outs

For unpaved shoulders, drop-offs can also occur as a result of rutting caused by vehicle tires or erosion.

It’s not just the sharp, high drop-offs that can be hazardous. Even drop-offs that are under a foot deep can cause drivers to panic and swerve, resulting in a severe accident. Unfortunately, unsafe shoulders are well known for causing rollover accidents.

Suppose your front tire drifts off the shoulder just a bit, and you attempt to correct it. Depending on the type of shoulder on the road, you can risk flipping and rolling your vehicle. Shoulder drop-offs are especially dangerous on two-lane highways, where wide-load semi-trucks might be traveling in the opposite direction.

#6. Slippery Roads

Florida receives an extensive amount of rain each year. Heavy downpours can occur, causing the roads to become slippery quickly. If you are driving in rainy weather, you must continually be aware of how much water is on the road. You should also avoid using your vehicle’s cruise control.

Rain can create havoc on all types of roads. Reduced visibility can make it more challenging to maintain control over your vehicle. Worse yet, even if you keep control of your car, you have little to no control over other motorists who might not share your same safe driving habits.

As a result, the following are unfortunately quite common rainy and foggy conditions:

  • Rear-end collisions are more likely to occur because it’s much tougher to stop a vehicle on wet roads. It’s also because other drivers drive slower in wet weather, and other motorists may not be prepared for their reduced speeds.
  • More intersection collisions: Reduced visibility and challenges to stop quickly cause many cars to slide right through an intersection. Intersection accidents are often more severe and complex than rear-end or other types of collisions because, most of the time, the cars collide at an angle. Due to this, the driver and their passengers don’t have the protection of the crumple zones in the hood or the rear of the car.
  • More swerving accidents: With less time to stop, motorists often hit the brakes too hard, causing them to swerve into another traffic lane and possibly create an accident.
  • More accidents due to reduced visibility: Even with great windshield wipers, a good rainstorm can make it tough for drivers to see. If a driver can’t see properly due to rain or fog, the chances of an accident increase significantly.

#7. Objects in the Road.

Objects can land in the middle of the road at any time, for any reason. For instance, garbage can fly off a trash truck, a semi-truck can lose part of its load, a passenger vehicle may have a bike, cargo carrier, or something else attached to it that may come off, or a driver might throw something out of their vehicle.

On some roads, homeowners leave trash or other items that might become dangerous. In addition, inclement weather can cause fallen power lines or trees and tree limbs on the road. If you are driving in stormy weather, it’s imperative to always watch for these types of objects and be ready to act accordingly if any are present.

#8. Construction Zones

Construction is a necessary yet dangerous part of driving in Florida. Even when construction zones are well-planned, thought out, and executed, many dangers still exist. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports that the number of fatalities in crashes occurring in construction and maintenance work zones between 1982 and 2019 was 28,636 people, or about 774 per year.

Lower speed limits protect workers’ safety in construction zones. Despite this, many motorists speed through these areas, hitting cones, barricades, and other obstacles. They can cause the cones or other debris to fly into the middle of the road.

Construction zones are hazardous places for drivers and construction workers to be. The temporary lane shifts, changes in speed, large pieces of construction equipment, and workers in the area can all create risks. Loose gravel, tar, or sticky oil in these areas can also create potential accident hazards for motorists. Construction zones are also popular places for impatient drivers and road rage that can cause accidents. Anyone driving through a construction zone needs to be fully alert and ready for hazardous conditions.

Who is Responsible When a Car Accident Happens?

If you were in a car accident and suspect poorly maintained or faulty roads to be the cause, keep in mind that responsibility for those roads doesn’t fall solely to the Federal government.

Ownership-and therefore upkeep and maintenance -of public roadways often falls to different governing bodies, from the Federal government to state governments to cities and even private organizations. It’s imperative to know who owns the road you were driving on when your accident occurred.

This might require a little research. You can go to your local courthouse to research property records. However, in many cases, it makes more sense to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who can determine who is liable for your accident and pursue financial recovery on your behalf.

You should also note that because road ownership can vary, the statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a personal injury claim also differs from one governing body to the next, as well as what requirements the injured party must meet to prove their claim. This is yet another reason to hire a skilled attorney to manage your claim.

Hire an Experienced Florida Auto Accident Lawyer Today

Be aware of all of these potentially hazardous road conditions and others whenever you get behind the wheel. Doing so can go a long way toward keeping you and others safe on Florida’s roads. However, if you encounter an accident, be sure to consult with an experienced car accident attorney. Even if another vehicle hit you, there might be other parties – and additional sources of compensation – responsible.

When you hire an attorney, they will listen to how your accident occurred. Then they can perform an in-depth investigation into what happened, which will likely reveal who is responsible. They may even hire accident reconstructionists or other experts to help them get to the bottom of your accident.

How can you find out if you deserve compensation for your injuries? Reach out today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a seasoned Florida car accident attorney. You want a lawyer with experience handling claims involving dangerous road conditions, as these claims can be technical and challenging.

Are You in Need of Legal Assistance?

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We know that accidents don’t always happen during business hours. That’s why our experienced lawyers are standing by, 24/7/365, to listen to your story, evaluate your claim, and help you decide what to do next. Call us now and we’ll see if we can pursue compensation for your injuries!

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