Common Road Hazards That Cause Accidents

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No matter how safe a driver is, a road hazard or defect could cause an accident. Dangerous roads can be impossible to safely navigate, ultimately leading to a car accident that causes injuries or deaths. It is the city and state government’s duty to maintain safe public roadways. If a road defect causes a crash, a victim may be able to hold the government responsible. An Omaha car accident lawyer can help navigate your legal case.

Common Road Hazards That Cause Accidents

Potholes and Cracks in the Pavement

Potholes are depressions in the road caused by the erosion of the road’s surface, often due to water, wear and tear, or sinking. A pothole may start as a crack in the pavement and eventually worsen until a hole is formed. If a vehicle’s tire strikes a pothole, it could pop or explode, leading to a tire blowout accident. Hitting a pothole could also “trip” the vehicle and cause a loss of vehicle control or a rollover accident. 

Uneven Expansion Joints

Expansion joints are places in the road that act as a buffer, allowing the concrete or asphalt to expand on hot days and contract on cold days. Expansion joints vary in size and are often present on the side of the road, where two sections of a road connect, or the entrance to a bridge or passage. If a road’s expansion joints are uneven, they can grip a vehicle’s tires and pull the car in one direction. This is especially dangerous for motorcyclists.

Road Construction Sites

Road construction sites will eventually improve the safety of a road but can present a crash risk to drivers in the meantime. Construction zones can have many types of hazards, including loose gravel, debris, construction tools and equipment left too close to the road, unsafe detours, bright flood lights, and a lack of warning signs. It is a construction company’s responsibility to keep the site reasonably safe for drivers and workers. 

Wet or Slick Surfaces

If a road is designed poorly or in a state of disrepair, rainwater may not drain or run off correctly. This can lead to standing water in the road and a risk of a vehicle hydroplaning. Slick surfaces caused by other pollutants can also pose a risk of car accidents, including oil and gas. A motorcyclist could be at risk of crashing due to slippery grass clippings left in the road after mowing a lawn, as well.


A road could be made dangerous by any type of debris, including debris from a storm, rocks or rubble, trash, furniture, or something that fell from the bed of a truck. Unexpected debris in the road may not leave a driver enough time to swerve or stop to avoid impact.

Missing or Obstructed Signs

Road signs are necessary to help direct traffic and prevent accidents. All drivers must obey stop, yield, speed limit, detour and other posted road signs. If a sign is broken, missing or view of the sign is obstructed by a branch, this could cause a car accident. Broken or malfunctioning traffic lights are also significant safety hazards for drivers.

Crossing Animals

Crossing animals are a more common safety risk in rural areas or the country in Nebraska, but can also be an issue in the city. An animal such as a deer, cow or elk may cross the road unexpectedly, either causing a crash where the animal could go through the windshield or forcing the driver to swerve off the road to avoid a collision. Roadkill or animal carcasses in the road can also present a crash risk.If you get injured in a car accident caused by a road hazard, contact an attorney for a free consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation through a claim brought against the government agency in charge of roadway maintenance and safety.