One-Fifth of Pennsylvania Roads Rated in “Poor Condition”
There are many conditions that can contribute to traffic accidents. While some, such as traveling speed and attention to the road, are within a driver’s control, others, such as road condition, often are not. Poor road conditions are an especially pressing problem in many areas of Pennsylvania, where one in five roads is in poor condition and an additional third are considered only fair.
Problems with Pennsylvania’s Roads
In Pennsylvania, wide changes in seasonal temperatures can quickly degrade the roads. Additionally, traffic from heavy vehicles can put additional stress on roads with more traffic, while ones with less get less attention. Bad road conditions are especially bad in Pennsylvania’s rural areas. The rural roads in the state were recently rated the eighth worst in the country. The state ranked third for structurally deficient bridges. It was ranked 16th in rural road fatalities.
When road surfaces are bad, they can cause damage to the cars that drive them. Additionally, bad road conditions can make it more likely that a car will lose control, especially when drivers are not aware of damage to a local road. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, speeds that are too fast for road conditions are a factor in more than half of all traffic fatalities.
How Pennsylvania Can Make Their Roads Safer
Officials in Pennsylvania say that they are aware of the cracks, potholes and other issues that plague local roads. However, finding the resources to deal with the problems is another matter. A lack of money and a long list of municipal priorities mean that the roads often do not get the attention that they should.
Delays in funding are often part of the problem. According to Harrisburg’s city engineer, funding a project often plays a part in how quickly it is completed. A locally-funded project often takes around a year, while state-funded projects may take three to five years. A federally-funded project, by contrast, may take as long as 12 years to complete.
However, new legislation gives some of those responsible for fixing the roads hope. A transportation funding act was passed in 2013; the act should speed-up the progress of state-funded projects. Additionally, a state-wide recycled asphalt program means that supplies for repaving rural roads should be more affordable and easier to get. This, in turn, should mean that road projects are completed more quickly.
Staying Safe on Pennsylvania’s Roads
While individuals can’t change the condition of the roads, they can adjust to those conditions to reduce the risk of an accident. When you are driving on cracked, pitted or otherwise damaged roads, always drive at speeds appropriate for road conditions. In many cases, this will be slower than posted speed limits. Focus completely on driving so that your attention is not split between the road and distractions like your phone or radio. Drive defensively and always stay aware of what other drivers are doing and what unexpected moves you may anticipate.
No matter how careful you are, you cannot prevent every car accident. In some cases, a combination of road conditions and the actions of another driver may lead to a collision.
Have you or a loved one been involved in a vehicle crash where poor road conditions played a part? Don’t hesitate to contact Wapner Newman today. We will provide a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case and your options.