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Dangerous Road Design

San Fernando Valley Car Accident Attorney

The process of designing, building and maintaining our roadways is complex and usually done which a great deal of thought to the practicality and safety of the roads. Unfortunately, there are times when a road is built or repaired in a condition that places drivers on that road in the risk of an accident.

Dangerous road designs can lead to some of the most devastating accidents, many of which could not be avoided by any action on the part of the driver. When a defect in the design or build of a road causes drivers to sustain injuries, the city officials and construction contractors responsible can be held accountable for the damages.

There are a number factors that contribute to the compatibility and safety of a road. From the road surface to the placing of signage, city contractors must exercise a great deal of care in the design of a road to ensure that it is safe and user-friendly. Because of the importance of safe roads, there are rules and guidelines that must be followed.

Construction contractors placed in the charge of a new road design are accountable to these guidelines, which are intended to promote safer public road. If a dangerous road leads to an accident, these guidelines will be the standard to measure the actions of the contractors.

Elements to a Safe Road Design

There are multiple factors involved in building a safe road. If any of these elements are flawed in any way, the risk of an accident is raised substantially, meaning that contractors strive for precision and near-perfection when designing and building public roads.

Some important factors that can potentially lead to an injury accident include:

  • Entrance and Exit Ramps: These ramps allow cars to leave and enter the highway safely, integrating into the flow of the rest of traffic. On high speed freeways, these ramps must be designed so that cars have adequate time to reach speed and merge into traffic safely. If ramps are not designed well, it can create traffic pinch points where vehicle density is higher and accident risk is raised.
  • Road Markings: An important part of safe roads is the visibility, clarity and placement of road markings. Lane markings, traffic signs and reflectors can be especially important in directing traffic at night, when other forms of visibility are low. If markings are unclear, defective or faded, it can confuse drivers or lead them to make unsafe lane changes without knowing.
  • Banking: One of the more subtle elements to road design is known as banking or camber. Banking refers to the outer edges of high-speed road curves that are often raised in order to assist vehicles in managing the turn while staying on the road. The banking must be done at an appropriate amount for the specific turn, taking into account the size of the curve and the speed of traffic in that area. If banking is too much or not enough, danger of rolling over or driving off of the road can be increased.
  • Road Surface: As drivers, many people do not realize the significance of road surface in the amount of friction offered for the tires of a vehicle. The surface of roads is often rough or smooth in accordance with surroundings in order to avoid sliding on wet roads and excessive skidding. Grooving in the roads is also used to warn drivers, slow down the flow of traffic or to caution those drifting off of the traffic lane.
  • Shoulder Design: Shoulders are strategically placed on the side of the road in order to provide vehicles with space between the lanes and road barrier. Shoulders are important especially when a vehicle needs to veer off of the road due to a mechanical failure or to avoid a rear-end accident but if they are design with too steep of a drop-off, they can end up causing more harm than help.

The foundation of any well-design road should be to promote driver safety, maneuverability and visibility as much as possible. Government agencies are given public budgets to create and maintain the roads that we drive on but if the roads are designed poorly, innocent members of the community can be injured an even killed.

The difficulty of making a claim involving a dangerous road design is that the defendant is often a government agency or paid by a government agency. This means that a defense known as "sovereign immunity" is likely to arise as a response to the claim. Also known as governmental immunity, sovereign immunity offers exemptions for certain entities affiliated with the government from liability for certain actions or omissions. This defense usually arises in claims over accidents and dangerous roadways but it does not necessarily mean the government agency is not responsible.

Making a Claim Involving Dangerous Road Design

Governmental immunity may require a raised burden of proof from the plaintiff but with the right San Fernando Valley personal injury attorney on the case and proof of guideline violations, an injured person or family can successfully recover damages for a car accident caused by a dangerous road design.

Car accidents that are traced back to negligence or recklessness by a government agency or employee are notoriously difficult and complex but that does not minimize the pain and struggle of the victims involved.

Contact a San Fernando Valley car accident lawyer to learn more about how The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus may be able to help you recover compensation after a dangerous road design lead you to be involved in an injury accident.

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