Common Road Hazards in Kansas City & How to Avoid Them

Every driver will inevitably encounter road hazards that may easily cause accidents. It’s wise to know the most common accident-causing road hazards and how to avoid them. Before every trip, consider your route, destination, and travel conditions in the area to determine which hazards you are most likely to encounter.

Our Kansas City car accident attorneys have put together a list of road hazards drivers need to be aware of now more than ever. Keep reading to learn more.

Bad Weather

Inclement weather can include snow and ice that make road surfaces slippery, pouring rain that interferes with visibility, or high winds that make it difficult to keep your vehicle in the lane. Whenever you must drive during bad weather, make sure you engage your headlights when visibility is low and drive with the flow of traffic.

For example, the speed limit may say 55 mph, but during heavy snow, driving at that speed would be very dangerous. Surrounding traffic may slow to 45 or 40 mph, and you should decelerate to match. Keeping your windshield and windows clean and taking proper care of your headlights and brakes will also help prevent bad weather traffic accidents.

Heavy Traffic

During heavy traffic congestion it can be easy to quickly grow frustrated. Refrain from tailgating and try to leave a decent buffer zone between your vehicle and the one in front of you in slow-moving traffic. Be alert and prepared to stop; some drivers will suddenly change lanes and cut other drivers off as soon as they see an opportunity to do so.

Distractions

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents, especially among younger drivers. All drivers should remain focused on driving during every trip. Turn your cell phone to silent mode or use a hands-free device if you must use your phone for work on the road. Other common distractions include adjusting the stereo while driving, conversations with passengers, roadside events like police activity, and even stress after a tough day at work that takes a driver’s mind away from driving.

Aggressive Drivers

The best thing to do with an aggressive or reckless driver is to avoid the driver entirely. If possible, contact the police and provide them with the aggressive driver’s vehicle make and model, color, and license plate number if you can obtain it safely. You should also provide them with the aggressive driver’s last known location. Never attempt to handle an aggressive driver by responding aggressively yourself.

Cyclists and Pedestrians

Bicyclists and pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable parties on the road, and drivers have a duty of care to prevent injuries to cyclists and pedestrians however necessary. When a cyclist or pedestrian suddenly cuts into traffic or engages in any unsafe behaviors that cause an accident, he or she could incur some liability for the accident. However, the driver involved will almost always absorb more fault due to drivers’ inherently higher duty of care on the road. TO learn more about this, speak to a bicycle accident lawyer in Kansas City.

Construction

Construction zones on the road are a common sight throughout the country. Most state laws require drivers to reduce their speed and engage their headlights when passing through road construction sites. Some road construction may alter traffic patterns or require “flaggers” to direct traffic through partially closed roads. Always follow their instructions carefully, maintain a safe speed, and engage your headlights to improve your visibility, even during the day. The reflections of your headlights make you more visible and help reduce the chances of an accident.

Road Damage and Potholes

Depending on the type of road, maintenance responsibilities for the road may fall to the local government, the state, or the U.S. Department of Transportation for federal highways. If a damaged road surface causes an accident, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road may absorb liability, but many government offices and entities have sovereign immunity that protects them from liability for civil claims. Stay alert for potholes and reduce your speed so you can successfully navigate around them; however, make sure you do not swerve into another lane or into parked vehicles next to your lane while trying to avoid a pothole.