What is involved in a single vehicle highway shoulder defect accident case? That is a question that needs close examination and a thorough and thoughtful approach. The highways and roads in South Carolina are in pitiful, and even worse, dangerous shape. But not only do the paved roads themselves present dangerous hazards to a traveling motorist, so too do the shoulders of the highway. A shoulder is the roadside border area adjoining the paved area of a road. A road or highway in South Carolina is required to have a safe shoulder so that normal use of the roadside shoulder does not result in a tragic automobile accident because of a defective shoulder.
Defective shoulders have been identified by the Federal Highway Administration as a major cause of severe accidents involving personal injury and fatalities on the roadways nationwide. Unsafe roadside edges have led to thousands of vehicular accidents and wrongful death.
A highway shoulder is defective if there is a drop-off between the edge of the paved roadway and the shoulder. Pavement edge drop-offs are unsafe because uneven height differences between the paved road and the dirt shoulder can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle and lessen a driver’s ability to control the vehicle. Often, a driver may go off the paved road and try to maneuver the vehicle back onto the paved roadway. However, a drop off can cause the wheels of the vehicle to become “hooked” on the edge of the paved roadway and the driver may try to over-correct or jerk the vehicle back onto the paved roadway, causing the driver to lose control and wreck the vehicle.
You may have read in news reports about a single vehicle accident leaving a roadway and overcorrecting and ultimately crashing on the other side of the road. In that situation, there may have been a defective shoulder that caused the driver to lose control.
Other times, the steep drop off may cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle without even having a chance to correct or control the vehicle.
So what causes the shoulder of the road to become defective? Often times, the shoulder can become eroded by bad weather over time. Use of the shoulders by vehicles can also cause shoulder drop off. The edge of the pavement can also become broken or falty paving of the roadway during road resurfacing can lead to shoulder defects and drop offs.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has a duty to keep the shoulders of the road in a safe, well-maintained condition. Also, when it comes to county roads, county governments have a duty to keep road side shoulders in a safe and well-maintained condition.
A single vehicle highway shoulder defect accident case involves many factors. If you or a family member or friend have been injured or killed in a single vehicle accident after leaving the paved roadway, a defective highway shoulder may be to blame for the accident. To protect your rights, call the Thomas Creech Law Offices immediately so that a proper investigation can be performed.