6 Road Defects that Can Cause a Wreck

Many car accidents are caused by negligent or reckless drivers, but road defects can also contribute to a wreck. These defects should be fixed promptly to protect the public, but negligent government authorities allow hazardous conditions to exist for far too long.

If a road defect or hazard has caused your accident, contact a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer today. Sometimes, road defect cases involve suing the government, which is a complicated process, so experienced legal advice is necessary.



To some drivers, potholes might seem like a minor inconvenience, jostling you for a few seconds. But some potholes can cause collisions.

For example, a large pothole could temporarily cause a person to lose control of their vehicle. Consequently, they could jump into oncoming traffic or slam into a pedestrian trying to cross the street. Someone riding on a bicycle or a motorcycle is also vulnerable to potholes, which could literally upend the person and lead to injuries.

Most roads eventually develop potholes, but the government should fix them in a reasonable timeframe. A lot depends on how long the pothole has existed and whether the government knew or should have known about it. You can help protect the public by reporting potholes to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Defective Shoulders

Roads have shoulders so that cars that break down can pull over without interrupting the flow of traffic. Shoulders might be paved or unpaved, but they should be reasonably wide. Some shoulders, however, are so poorly constructed that they can lead to accidents.

One example involves roads where there is a big drop off from the lip of the road to the shoulder. A motorist who drifts too far to the right could slip off the road, hit gravel, and suffer a rollover or other accident. Or they might overcorrect and pull straight into oncoming traffic.

Malfunctioning or Missing Guardrails

Properly placed guardrails should prevent out-of-control drivers from sliding off the road or into oncoming traffic. Many roads have guardrails when there is a steep drop-off or when there is a multilane highway with traffic going in both directions.

Some guardrails are defectively designed, manufactured, or installed. They can fail to stop a motorist from going down an embankment or sliding into oncoming traffic. In some situations, a road might be missing guardrails altogether when the physical layout would require their installation.

Missing Traffic Signs

Traffic signs are necessary to the orderly flow of traffic. Unfortunately, some signs are missing for a variety of reasons:

Some signs might even be painted on the road itself—think “STOP AHD” signs—but the paint can become faded over time and not replaced. As a result, motorists do not take necessary precautions, which can lead to a collision.

Construction Debris

We see endless construction on Virginia’s roads. Unfortunately, construction crews can leave behind debris that either causes a driver to swerve or causes them to lose control. Some common debris includes construction tools left behind, pieces of lumber, and pieces of pulled-up asphalt. The construction company is responsible for keeping the area safe for motorists, and their failure to do so could make them legally responsible for a collision.

Obscured Traffic Signs

Some signs might be obstructed because of overgrown foliage or because they are placed improperly. Motorists who cannot see the sign might make a critical error while driving, which can lead to car accidents.

Speak with a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer

Obtaining compensation due to a road defect is a difficult process. Fortunately, our lawyers understand the process and can compile the necessary evidence to make a strong claim. For help with your case, contact Barney Injury Law. We serve Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk, Virginia.

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