Many people grumble on their commutes every day about the state of roads: potholes, cracks, faded paint and much more, for example. A lack of maintenance can make an issue more expensive down the road, damage cars and put a damper on motorists’ days, but road maintenance is even more important for one big reason. It saves lives.
Yes, improper road maintenance can and has led to serious injuries and deaths. Here is a look at two ways this happens.
Hydroplaning occurs when a driver loses control on a section of road because it is wet and the tires have separated from the road. Many motorists experience this at some point, and while it is scary, they come out of it OK. In some instances, however, hydroplaning can lead to serious effects.
Road maintenance plays a part because if surfaces become too damaged or too worn, water can collect on them. Similarly, if the shoulders and vegetation around roads are not taken care of, water can collect and have nowhere to go. This can be a particular problem in South Carolina’s coastal area, and once a driver loses control of his or her car, it could crash into a guardrail, spin into another car or one of many other disastrous scenarios.
Of course, it is important to note that there can be causes other than improper road maintenance that contribute to hydroplaning. Perhaps there was insufficient signage, bad road design or not enough of a cross slope to prevent water pooling.
Another way in which road maintenance can cause injuries and deaths is with a sort of domino effect. Say Driver A is about to go over an extremely large pothole that grew in size overnight and that the transportation department knows about. It just has not gotten around to patching it or fixing it. Driver A drives over the pothole, and it causes a blown tire or cripples the tire to the point that Driver A slows significantly. Depending on the traffic around the driver, there could be a lot of braking, swerving and crashes rippling out from that one pothole.