It is very difficult to avoid unforeseen dangers on the road. However, there are ways to address and prevent predictable roadway hazards. Roads in poor condition can increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents. If states take the time to sift out dangerous streets, this could thwart the number of tragic accidents.
According to a recent study released by The Reason Foundation, North Carolina is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to road congestion and deteriorating bridges. StarNews Online notes that approximately 70 percent of urban interstates in North Carolina are congested, and 31 percent of bridges are deficient or functionally outdated.
Poorly designed roadways can result in tragedies
For example, a woman driving to her late-shift job at a Durham nursing home slowed at the top of a bridge over railroad tracks. The shoulder of the road falls away before the highway reaches the bridge. Sources report that no guardrails protect vehicles from falling to the tracks below.
As the woman slowed, she saw the headlights of a SUV. The vehicle drifted across the centerline as it approached. The woman pulled to the side, but the road provided little room for passing. The motorist in the oncoming vehicle veered straight toward the woman's car. While the two drivers avoided a head-on collision, they clipped each other's left-side mirrors.
When the woman came to a complete stop at the side of the road, in her rear-view mirror, she saw a terrible scene unfold. The SUV moved farther to the left and struck the bridge rail. The vehicle toppled down a steep bank and crashed beside the rail track. The SUV immediately burst into flames.
While sources cannot confirm whether guardrails would have saved the motorist, the man's mother wants the state Department of Transportation to replace the bridge with a secure structure, including extended guardrails.
Numerous accidents in the same location
According to NewsObserver.com, this crash is the sixth accident recorded in the past five years at the bridge. State reports show that other motorists have struck the concrete rails of this bridge, with two injuries and more than $15,000 in damages.
Built in the 1930s, the road width shrinks from 20 feet to 18 feet on the bridge. Because the bridge is centered at the peak of a hill, drivers cannot see each other as they approach from opposing sides. Modern bridges are wider and provide more room for vehicles and potential pedestrians.
Engineers from the Department of Transportation studied the bridge after the most recent accident and proposed a reduced speed limit and guardrails at the bridge. Officials are weighing the option of an entirely new bridge.
If you have been injured in a roadway accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help you assess your case and discuss whether any remedies might be available.