There are many heavily traveled roads throughout Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington. These roads include I-5 and I-205. SR 14 starts in Vancouver and moves east. SR 500 begins in north Vancouver and connects with I-205. SR 503 is a state highway that provides transportation routes for Clark and Cowlitz counties. The 54-mile-long road runs through Battle Ground, through Clark County and crosses the Lewis River at the Yale Bridge. SR 501 starts at I-5 and heads west. SR 502 also runs through Battle Ground.
Heavily traveled roads are dangerous for several reasons. Some of the many reasons severe and deadly accidents happen on roads with a lot of traffic are:
- High speeds. The speed limits on Washington roads range as follows. On rural interstates, cars can travel up to 70 mph while trucks can travel up to 60 mph. On urban freeways, the speed limit is 60 mph. On divided and undivided highways, vehicles can travel up to 65 mph. Even on some residential roads, the speed limit can be as high as 50 mph. Cars or trucks that are traveling 60 mph are going nearly 90 feet per second. In just that one second, speeding cars can slam into the cars in front of them, run through a traffic signal, fail to judge the distance needed to pass, or travel through a curve too quickly.
- Dense traffic. During rush hours, construction, heavy rains, and other parts of the day, many drivers are very close to each other. Some traffic can even be bumper-to-bumper. The closer two vehicles are to each other, especially when they’re going fast, the more likely they are to collide.
At Philbrook Law Firm, we work with investigators, the police, and question everyone involved to determine how a heavily traveled highway accident happened and who is responsible. We also work with traffic reconstruction professionals when necessary.
What other factors make roads in Vancouver and Battle Ground dangerous?
Some of the many conditions that can make any road unsafe include:
- Dangerous curves. Roads should be designed so that the inclines and curves are not so steep that the forces of motion cause the vehicle to roll over to swerve into another lane.
- Lack of proper lighting. Many local roads and rural roads don’t have proper lighting, making it difficult to see when other vehicles or pedestrians cross their paths.
- Missing or improperly placed traffic signals and signs. Intersections should generally have stop signs or traffic signals to control traffic. The speed limit on the interstate or other roads should be clear. Signs should clearly indicate the various locations along the highway and the various exits.
- Lack of marked dividers. Each lane of traffic should be properly marked. Proper markers and dividers are essential for distinguishing when two adjacent lanes are going in opposite directions.
- Failure to maintain the roads. The Washington Department of Transportation, the local counties, and other entities have a duty to regularly inspect their roads for possible dangers. These dangers can include potholes, lanes made of different materials, divider markings that are no longer visible, and other dangers.
- Bad weather. Wet roads make it harder to brake. Some slippery roads can cause hydroplaning. Heavy rain, fog, glaring sun, or snow can make it difficult for drivers to see.
- Construction work. Virtually every road needs some type of repair due to the thousands of vehicles that travel them each day. Construction work includes fixing potholes, tarring roads, making roads wider, adding lanes, trimming trees, inserting sewer lines, fixing bridges, and many other types of improvements. The construction companies in charge of the work need to ensure that drivers understand where the work is being done, when to shift lanes, and how fast they should go. Roadway construction sites can be extremely dangerous if there aren’t proper detours, barricades, lighting, and other safety measures.
Some Vancouver and Battle Ground roads have cliffs on one side and mountains on the other – requiring that drivers maneuver as slow as a snail as to not slide over an embankment. Other roads pose different dangers for different types of travelers. Roadkill is a common danger for motorcycle riders. Crosswalks and intersections can be especially dangerous for pedestrians and bicycle riders.
Who is responsible for dangerous roads?
Drivers are responsible for understanding the condition of the road they’re driving on. For example, in this area, drivers need to know how to drive in the rain. There’s generally no excuse for rear-end collisions in wet weather. If the driver who causes a rear-end distance left more stopping distance, pumped his/her brakes, or considered even driving in a lower gear, most rear-end collisions can be avoided.
Motorists who drive on dangerous roads need to understand when to slow down, when to use their lights, when to honk, and what other safety precautions to use depending on the type of dangerous condition.
The entity or agency responsible for designing the road may be liable if the road design is defective. The owners and other responsible parties, such as maintenance crews ,need to warn drivers of dangerous conditions such as detours, roadwork, other accidents, and other clear dangers.
At Philbrook Law Firm, our car, truck, and motorcycle accident lawyers understand the challenges involved in filing claims when a dangerous roadway is the cause. We often begin by investigating other accidents and complaints about the roadway to determine what the responsible parties knew and what drivers should have reasonably expected. We have a strong record of success negotiating settlements and trying vehicle accident cases in court. We represent drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicycle riders injured in accidents.
Our Vancouver, WA and Battle Ground, WA trial lawyers will answer all your questions and guide you through the claims process. To schedule an appointment, call us at 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form. There may be shorter timelines to file your claim if a state entity or agency is involved, so please contact us promptly.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.