There are very many things you can do to stop an accident from happening, and all this accident prevention advice normally comes down to good driving or proper response to adverse driving conditions such as bad weather or extreme temperatures.
Road safety, however, is not only the responsibility of drivers – it is also the responsibility of those who maintain the roads. On highways, there should be adequate safety provisions such as highway guardrails and barricades; on local roads, there should be proper signage at intersections, and rural roads should have measures in place to alert drivers to the several hazards that can arise here.
Nevertheless, a driver is rarely explicitly alerted to a downright bad road. This is because roads shouldn’t be bad, and road maintenance authorities are rarely keen to advertise the fact. Accordingly, it’s very wise to learn how to recognize bad roads yourself and to make sure that you take the necessary precautions when you are obliged to drive along one.
Highway safety experts Valtir advise that while bad roads are not the fault of drivers, dealing with them is unfortunately something that the driver has to do. To that end, there is a range of tips and advice out there about how to cope with bad roads, but the first step is certainly recognizing them.
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What Makes a Road Bad?
A road can be bad for two reasons – either it has been allowed to degrade to an unacceptable degree, or it has been poorly constructed. The latter case is the more alarming, as it is a sign of a bad road authority that is unlikely to be able to provide for the safety needs of motorists if it cannot even ensure the proper construction of roads.
In cases of degradation, the reason is normally neglect, and there are some roads – usually in areas with smaller populations – where the resources and funds for constant maintenance are simply not available. Drivers in these areas need to know how to navigate such roads.
Tell Tale Signs of a Poor Road
As mentioned, it all begins with recognizing a bad road when you are driving on one. Here follows a few things to look out for:
Construction is necessary and is a sign that a road is improving. However, while the construction work is ongoing, the road is compromised and sometimes not enough is done to account for this. Failure to follow approved plans, the use of sub-par materials and poor workmanship can also mean that the road is left more dangerous after the construction is completed. All of this makes the road more dangerous.
Sometimes, a road can simply be designed badly, and there is nothing that can be done about this short of ripping it up and building a new road (which is unlikely to happen). Signs of poor construction include pull-over zones that are not at all clear or signed, dangerous street drop-offs and paving materials without adequate skid resistance. There could also be defective or missing highway guard rails and the types of bends and slopes that impair visibility.
If a road is poorly maintained, this will show on the paving, with excessive cracks and potholes being the most obvious evidence. The danger of this increases in proportion to the speed limit on the road. If a car hits a pothole at speed, it can skid away at a dangerous angle, causing collisions.
Learning to recognize poor roads and then taking the proper caution is the only way drivers can remain safe in such situations. Beyond this, it is over the authorities responsible for the road itself.