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Poor Highway Design

Common Causes of Auto Accidents

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 gave birth to the massive network of interstates and highways that traverse our vast country. Construction of the Interstate Highway System took nearly 40 years and was finally proclaimed “complete” in 1992. Today, more than 25% of all vehicle miles driven in the United States are on the Interstate Highway System.


The original planners envisioned a massive network of freeways and highways stretching across the United States. This network was intended to safely transport the ever-growing number of vehicles in the country. While these intentions were good, the design of the highway system had some major flaws and has actually led to significant problems over the years. Car accidents on the highways and interstates are frequent and have numerous causes. Speeding, reckless driving, and intoxicated drivers make highways a dangerous place to be, especially during rush hour.

However, another common cause of car accidents may very well be the road design themselves. Unfortunately, poor road design isn’t always easy to prove. Accidents that are caused by defective highways or poor road design require the skills of an experienced and aggressive law firm with the extensive resources needed to tackle these complex cases.

Accidents caused by poor road or highway design

Poor highway design is more common than many people believe. These defects and flaws in the road can cause serious and fatal accidents in Arkansas and Tennessee. Mistakes can occur at any point during the design, building, or maintaining of the highways. Construction errors can lead to joints popping up on the road, faulty repair jobs can result in increased potholes, and design flaws can result in sharp and deadly turns.

Some of the most common types of poor highway designs are:

  • Blind curves
  • Poor guardrail placement or broken guardrails
  •  Poor geological consideration
  • Steep shoulders
  • No shoulders
  • Poorly designed intersections
  • Landscaping which obstructs vision
  • Damaged or missing signs
  • Roads not treated properly for snow or ice
  • Poor lighting
  • Poorly maintained streets
  • Curves not graded properly
  • Bad exit ramps
  • Median barrier flaws

Poor highway design can cause serious and fatal accidents.

car accidents and dangerous intersections

Here are some real-world examples of poor road design and how they can cause an accident.

  • A guardrail that has not been properly placed or one that is broken will not protect vehicle occupants from injury during a crash. It can even cause the car to flip over the guardrail, leading to more catastrophic injuries.
  • Potholes may seem like no big deal, but if you hit a bad pothole while traveling 55 mph on a highway, you could lose control of your car or have a tire blowout. This can cause you to run off the road or into other vehicles.
  • Dangerous intersections may have malfunctioning lights, or there may be foliage obstructing your vision of traffic signs. This can cause you to run through the intersection and into oncoming traffic.
  • A shoulder on the road is intended to provide a safe area for drivers if they need to pull over or if their car is malfunctioning. Inadequate shoulders could put your car in danger and may not allow you to exit your vehicle safely.

Who Is at Fault for Accidents Caused by Poor Road Design

Government agencies in Arkansas and Tennessee have a responsibility to design, build, and maintain the roads in these communities. If you believe that your accident was caused by poor highway design or maintenance, you may be able to file a claim against the appropriate government entity or the construction company that failed to meet the expected standard of care.

Typically, in order to find fault, you must clearly establish that the road was designed or built with flaws or defects. If your accident was caused by improper road maintenance, you must show that the government entity knew or should have known that the road needed repair or maintenance and then failed to take appropriate action.

If your claim is against the government entity, you must act quickly. Car accident victims only have a short amount of time to file a lawsuit against a government agency. As such, it is important to speak to an experienced and skilled car accident attorney immediately.

We’re There When You Need Us

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you believe that poor road design caused your crash, speak to an experienced and skilled car accident lawyer immediately. Poor road design cases are complex and require a law firm with the experience and resources needed to fight these difficult claims. At Rainwater, Holt, & Sexton, our car accident attorneys fight aggressively for your future and will negotiate with the auto insurance companies on your behalf every step of the way.

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