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Top 5 Reasons Why Potholes Can Cause Accidents

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Top 5 Reasons Why Potholes Can Cause Accidents

Potholes rank among the top causes of car accidents worldwide. According to estimates, around one-third of all traffic accidents result from poor road conditions, a considerable portion of which is attributable to potholes.

The exact figures could be significantly higher, considering that the United States’ roads alone have some 55 million potholes.

But as a novice motorist, you could be wondering just how potholes may cause car accidents and who shoulders the blame in such incidents. Well, those concerns shall be the focus of this post.

 

How Do Potholes Cause Traffic Accidents?

A small pothole is never a serious problem, and motorists can quickly drive past and arrive at their destinations safe and sound. However, the scenario is a lot different with large potholes.

It doesn’t matter where the pothole is located on the road. It can pose serious risks, not only to motorists but also to pedestrians and other road users.

Wondering how accidents caused by potholes in Chicago do occur? Here are a few ways these seemingly harmless holes may prove life-threatening.

1. Potholes May Cause Drivers to Lose Control

This is arguably the most significant risk with potholes, especially for motorists driving at high speeds. You bump into a pothole, and the next thing you know, your vehicle veers off the road and drives straight into the roadside thicket. Or worse yet, you crash directly into guardrails or roadside apartments.

You can only imagine the extent of injuries and damage resulting from such incidents, especially if driving in high-traffic areas like city downtowns.

2. Potholes May Cause Hazardous Lane Changes

No self-respecting motorist will gladly drive through a massive hole on the road. The conventional wisdom is usually to avoid these holes. But while driving around potholes may seem like the natural thing to do, it could also mean dangerously overlapping into other lanes.

Changing lanes inadvertently is one of the easiest ways of crashing into other motorists. The risks increase further for two-way roads, where overlapping into another lane could cause direct collisions with oncoming vehicles.

 

3. Potholes May Cause Severe Secondary Injuries

We’ve already indicated how drivers can quickly lose control of their vehicles after hitting potholes. A car that goes out of control after bumping into a pothole can trigger a chain reaction series of collisions. These collisions can involve your vehicle and other cars, or they may directly target pedestrians.

For instance, a vehicle may veer off the road and smash into a gas station, instantly killing the gas attendants and triggering an explosion that may blow up all nearby cars.

4. Potholes May Cause Rear-end Collisions

Depending on the size of the pothole and the visibility conditions of the road, some of these holes may be difficult to make out from a reasonable distance.

A motorist may only detect a pothole from a few meters, causing instant braking. On busy highways, slamming on the brakes instantly could easily cause rear-end collisions.

5. Potholes May Cause Direct Pedestrian Injuries

When we think of potholes, what usually comes to mind is the risk posed by these holes to motorists. However, potholes pose direct hazards to pedestrians as well.

First, there are risks of being hit by a car that loses control while avoiding potholes. Besides, potholes may cause pedestrians to slip and fall, resulting in direct physical injury.

How Do Potholes Form?

Potholes generally result from heat and pressure generated by heavy trucks. However, some holes may form due to normal wear and tear, especially on poorly-maintained roads. Surprisingly, potholes do not form overnight. They usually start as small holes that become deeper and wider as the heavier trucks continue ramming through them.

The weather also plays a massive role in the formation of potholes. The holes tend to form or worsen during rainy and snowy conditions. Coupled with the slippery nature of the roads during precipitation, you can only imagine the extent of risks potholes can cause on the streets.

Who Shoulders The Blame In The Event Of Pothole-related Accidents?

There’s no clear answer on who takes direct liability in the event of pothole-related accidents. However, there are usually two parties to whom the fingers will normally point at. First is the local municipality or other agency charged with maintaining the roads. If there’s sufficient proof that such an entity is directly culpable due to gross negligence, a lawsuit may be brought against them.

The second party likely to shoulder the blame for pothole-related accidents is the driver causing the injuries or damage. The logic here is that it doesn’t matter how deplorable a road condition may be. It still behooves motorists to drive responsibly. Drivers should exercise even more caution while driving on potentially dangerous roads.

Now, the challenge is usually establishing who’s at fault. And this is where a car accident attorney comes in. Armed with their experience, an auto accident lawyer will examine the facts of the accident and determine which entity to sue for any injuries and damages.

It’s also worth noting that a car accident lawyer doesn’t only serve the interests of the victims. They may also help the perpetrator (in this case, a reckless driver) get lenient sentences if they’re sued for irresponsible driving.

 

Final Words

Potholes are a leading cause of road accidents. However, a professional auto accident lawyer can help you get fair compensation by bringing the negligent parties to justice.

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