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What You Need to Know About The Dangers of Running Off The Road

Car Accidents After Cars Run off the Road

Highway shoulders are a place where hidden dangers lurk for unsuspecting drivers.  The drop-off angle and drop off height of the pavement relative to the shoulder can lead to a car loosing control when attempting to re-enter the roadway.  There are national, state and local ordinances that regulate pavement drop-offs between the edge of the pavement and the road’s shoulder.  Unfortunately, and often, these regulations are ignored by contractors and in other instances erosion and wear and tear of the shoulder can lead to unsafe drop-offs.  

If a vehicle leaves the paved road surface to the right (for example, to avoid an animal in the road or if run off the road) and then re-enters the road from the shoulder the height and angle of the pavement can cause vehicle instability and cause the driver to loose control.  When the right tires leave the paved surface and then travel to the left to re-enter the roadway, the tires can catch or “scrub” the pavement edge which prevents the vehicle from coming back on the pavement.  The force of this scrubbing can cause drivers to lose control and fishtail and either flip or move into oncoming traffic leading to serious personal injuries and in some cases death.

Nearly 11,000 drivers and passengers are injured each year from crashes related to unsafe pavement edging.  Additionally, nearly 160 people are killed in such collisions. Of all the cases brought by those injured, the states bear most of the responsibility and pavement drop-off cases make up most of the claims brought against states’ departments of transportation.  In additional to bringing claims against the DOTs, there are various other players involved in such cases such as contractors who design, build or maintain the roadway.  Because most states enjoy some form of governmental immunity from suit, it is important to identify all non-governmental parties that may have played a role in bring about the collision.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a road defect, such as an unreasonably high pavement drop-off, consult a car accident lawyer who specializes in cases specific to construction, design or maintenance defects.  Call McAleer Law at 404-622-5337 for more information.