An Overview of How Road Design & Defects and How They Cause Accidents

By Prev Info - February 17, 2022

Road Design & Defects Overview

A road's design is considered safe if it allows the drivers on that road reasonable and sufficient time to see any obstacles ahead of them, to process what they have seen, and to react appropriately and safely with defensive driving measures.

Road design and defects are often partially or primarily responsible for a large majority of automobile accidents and especially motorcycle accidents. Adding injury to this fact, many law enforcement officers who respond to these accidents fail to report the dangerous road defects and poor road design that contributed to the accidents.

It is a fact that improved roadway design, the elimination of road defects and proper road maintenance can have a huge and positive impact in reducing motor vehicle accidents. Many roads fail to live up to the standards of predictability, consistent signage, proper hazard warnings and numerous injuries and fatalities occur as a result.

The road and highway design standards in the United States are constantly evolving and improving. Ongoing research from the Department of Transportation, the Transportation Research Board and the Institute of Transportation Engineers as well as studies and publications released by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials constantly aim to set a higher bar for the safety standards and designs of the United States highways and roads.

Types of Road Design & Defects

Road defects and hazards can fall into 3 main categories: basic design flaws, signage and signal defects, and maintenance defects and hazards.

Road Design Flaws: Basic design flaws include poorly designed intersections, insufficient or lack of dividers and medians, insufficient road shoulders or no road shoulders, and insufficient drainage on and around the road leading to flooding and large puddles that cause hydroplaning. Basic design flaws partially contribute to a large proportion of roadway collisions.

Signage and Signal Defects: Signage and signal defects fail to alert drivers of upcoming hazards or terrain features. They may include improper signs or missing signs, improperly or poorly marked construction zones, defective or broken traffic lights, and broken or hard to read exit, entrance and street names signs.

Maintenance Defects and Hazards: Maintenance defects include broken street lights, broken guardrails, potholes and debris in the road, uneven pavement, slippery pavement, and low hanging trees branches or other overgrowth that interferes with cars on the road.

Accidents Resulting from Road Design & Defects

Most motor vehicle accidents are caused by a cluster of contributing factors. Road design and road defects can cause measurable and predictable outcomes to accidents they cause.

Basic design flaws such as complicated intersections or the lack of a road shoulder can lead to head-on and side collisions as well as off-road accidents that may result in fatal rollovers.

Improper drainage causing pools of water and flooding on roads will cause vehicles to hydroplane, lose control and collide with other vehicles, pedestrians or stationary objects on or beside the road.

Improperly maintained roads with dangerous hazards like potholes or uneven pavement can cause tire blow-outs which are startling and cause the afflicted car to lose control. These hazards may also cause roll-overs and head on collisions as well as damage to the vehicles traveling over them.

Roads that have debris strewn across them or trees and other vegetation invading the road are a virtual obstacle course. The combination of unpredictable maneuvering and the high speed of the vehicles creates a dangerous driving condition in which all kinds of accidents are waiting to happen.





Legal (276) Business (238) Money (179) Health (150) Careers (71) Parenting (69) Cars (58) Fashion (58) Tech (58) Pets (54) Crafts (52) Home (45) Food (33) Arts (32) Travel (14) Weddings (12) Finance (11) Sports (10) Education (7) Electronics (5) Books (3) Hobbies (2) Holidays (2) Cultures (1) Relationships (1)