While most car accidents are caused due to negligent and reckless drivers, often due to a momentary distraction, there are also a number of accidents that are caused simply by the condition of the road we drive on. Roadway hazards can take many different shapes and forms including inclement weather, construction zones, poor design, or even the condition of the road itself. When getting behind the wheel, here are a few tips to help keep you and your vehicle safe while driving.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
The weather can greatly impact your ability to drive your car. Snow and ice are two of the most obvious hazards as they create slippery and treacherous conditions that can cause your car to slide out of control and into a ditch or oncoming traffic. However, they are not the only weather conditions that can affect your driving. Here are some other things to watch out for.
Rain– Rain not only reduces visibility but it can make the roads slick and make it harder to stop. Not only is rain a hazard in the winter with the potential to freeze, but it can be just as dangerous in the summer. In the summer, when asphalt gets hot, it releases oil. All it takes is a little rain and you have a recipe for hydroplaning.
Fog– Fog is particularly hazardous because of the effect on visibility. A dense fog is usually the reason for the massive 100+ car pile ups that you read about on the news. Additionally, most drivers make the mistake of using their high beams during fog. This actually makes visibility worse as the fog will simply reflect the light back at you.
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Wind– It might not seem like it, but wind can also be a hazard while driving. Not only can it kick up debris which can affect your visibility, but a strong wind can actually push your vehicle, especially when traveling over a bridge. If it’s particularly windy out, exercise caution while driving, especially when passing vehicles.
Construction and Road Conditions
Other major roadway hazards are construction zones and the road itself. Drivers need to be especially careful when driving through a construction zone. Not only is the speed limit significantly reduced, but there is also heavy machinery that could be crossing the roadway, as well as new construction patterns that might be different from what you’re used to. Always slow down when passing through a construction zone and be mindful of your surroundings.
As for the road itself, there can be a number of different hazards including potholes, debris, and poorly constructed roads. All of which can lead to either vehicle damage and loss of control while driving. Make sure to scan ahead while driving to see the hazards before it’s too late. If you are attempting to swerve around them, be wary of any other vehicles that might be in your vicinity and signal your intent to changes lanes before you do.
In the end, the best way you can do to protect yourself while driving is to simply be aware, and slow down, especially through construction zones or when the weather is bad. Unfortunately, not every driver is as cautious and careful when driving. If you’re injured due to the negligence of another driver, then speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Michael Schreyer is a personal injury attorney in Maryland and is a partner in the firm of Alpert Schreyer, LLC. He is an experienced personal injury attorney, serving the Maryland and Washington, DC area and providing information and advice on his law blog at dcmdlaw.com.